"Thirteen customers in the Canadian producing and oil marketing business have now signed binding, long-term contracts, which demonstrates the need for this proposed expansion that will serve both existing and new markets," Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson said in a statement.
Kinder Morgan said it will spend about $5.5 billion to update the capacity for its Trans Mountain pipeline to carry 890,000 barrels of oil per day, up from 750,000 bpd. The company has existing plans to twin the pipeline that runs 715 miles from Alberta to the western coast for access to Asian markets.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has lobbied Asian economies as potential oil consumers. Virtually all of the country's oil exports are sent to the United States.
Aboriginal communities and provincial leaders along the west coast have expressed concern about the environmental effects of oil activity in the region.
Kinder Morgan said the existing pipeline has operated safely for 60 years. It said it would reach out to concerned parties on the Trans Mountain plans. The company also needs federal approval to move forward.
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