CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd has complied with an order by the country’s National Energy Board (NEB) to stop some work on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the regulator said on Thursday.
The company has told the NEB it will stop installing mats to stop fish from spawning along the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) pipeline project - work that had “not yet been authorized,” the regulator said in a statement on its website.
Kinder Morgan Canada, a unit of Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a letter last Friday, the NEB told Kinder Morgan that its installation of mats constituted construction along the pipeline portion of the project, for which the company has not yet received authorization.
While the project has federal approval, work on the pipeline itself cannot begin until the NEB determines its precise route, a process that has no firm conclusion date.
The regulator has so far granted permission only for work on a coastal marine terminal, whose capacity needs to be increased to handle the extra crude from the expansion.
The NEB said on Thursday it continues to assess the issue of the anti-spawning mats.
The expansion project, which would twin the current Trans Mountain pipeline, would nearly triple the capacity of the existing pipeline from Canada’s oil heartland of Alberta to the west coast.
While welcomed by the energy sector, the project faces opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups and the provincial government of British Columbia, through which the pipeline passes.
The Federal Court of Appeal will hear next week in Vancouver a legal challenge that could overturn Trans Mountain’s approval.
Reporting by Ethan Lou; Editing by Cynthia Osterman