Coastal GasLink bringing back pipeline workers after pandemic plan approved

Coastal GasLink pipe storage Image: Coastal GasLink

TC Energy Corp. says it is gradually bringing back workers on its Coastal GasLink pipeline project in B.C. after health authorities approved its plan to deal with risks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workforce fell from almost 3,700 people to fewer than 600 and pipeline construction ground to a near halt in January after an order was issued restricting worker numbers at industrial projects in the Northern Health Authority region of B.C. to control the pandemic.

On Thursday, TC Energy CEO Francois Poirier warned that the $6.6-billion estimated cost of the conduit to bring natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the Canada LNG export terminal on the coast would rise and completion would likely be delayed because of the measures.

Coastal GasLink says in an online update there were 963 field workers on the project as of Wednesday.

It says increased health and safety measures under its new pandemic plan will allow critical environmental, safety and asset integrity activities to proceed in advance of a construction slowdown during spring thaw expected in March.

It says work on the actual pipeline will resume as sufficient personnel return to their work sites and as schedules for summer ramp up and peak construction are finalized, dependent on authorization to proceed under COVID-19 guidelines.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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