The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project (TMEP) is an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, built in 1951. The expansion will triple the capacity of the system so that it can transport an additional 590,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Alberta tar sands to Vancouver Harbor for onward shipment across the Pacific.
TMEP is one of a handful of pipeline projects which are together designed to accommodate a massive increase in production from Alberta's tar sands industry. Most tar sands extraction takes place in giant open-pit mines, with disastrous impacts on the area’s biodiverse boreal forest. The tar sands then needs to be turned in heavy crude oil – a process requiring a huge amount of energy. In addition, the original Trans Mountain Pipeline has a history of oil spills, and the planned expansion is being fought by many First Nations peoples whose rights and territories will be directly impacted.