Work has resumed on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion after a planned two-week pause stretched into a 52-day safety procedure overhaul on the 1,150-kilometer (690-mile) oil conduit across Alberta and British Columbia.

Trans Mountain

“A staged remobilization of the 7,000-strong workforce will begin this week,” the Canadian government-owned pipeline said earlier this month. “The restart process will begin with safety retraining and reorientation of all supervisors and workers before construction resumes.

Trans Mountain’s enhanced safety measures include workplace inspections and audits, incident and near-miss reports, communications, supervision, hazardous site planning, duty fitness assessments, alcohol and drug testing, and Covid-19 virus screening.

The construction suspension followed accidents at both ends of the pipeline. There was an October fatality near the Edmonton inlet and a serious injury in December at the outlet in the Burnaby suburb of Vancouver. Federal and provincial regulatory investigations continue.

Construction is about 20% complete on the project that would nearly triple the pipeline’s capacity to 890,000 b/d as an export route for Canada’s top natural gas users, Alberta thermal oilsands plants.

While the construction safety review that started in mid-December halted pipe and equipment installation, the C$12.6 billion ($9.4 billion) project did not stand still. Work continued on regulatory route approvals and preparations such as stockpiling pipe and completing work camps.

Trans Mountain has told the Canada Energy Regulator that no change has been made to the expansion completion target, and that the construction schedule always included time allowances for unplanned events and working conditions.