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A major milestone for Trans Mountain

Last Updated Dec 3, 2019 at 6:15 pm EST

FILE: Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline are unloaded in Edson, Alta. on June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – It is a day many in Alberta thought would never come, the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain expansion.

Canada’s new federal Energy Minister Seamus O’Regan, Alberta’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage, and Trans Mountain’s CEO and President made an announcement west of Edmonton on Tuesday.

A ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony was held, where Anderson declared they would make this “the best darn pipeline in the world.”

“Our objective is to finish this project within the next 30 to 35 months. I’ve always said it would take 30 to 36 months to build this project, and we’re starting that as we stand here today,” said Anderson.

READ MORE: Alberta pipe dream still alive as Trans Mountain announces new hires

While this news is welcome to many in the oil and gas sector, economist Moshe Lander doesn’t expect it will create the large economic boom many are hoping for.

“Days of $120 a barrel oil is probably long gone. Even with capacity constraints around the world, even with war and conflict, sanctions, the oil is $60, $70. Not that this now means we’re going to go back to $100 a barrel and everything’s going to be a party.”

Lander added the pipeline will create a link from Canada to Asia which will open market access with oil that’s already in the ground.

“There’s at least now a value that you can apply now to that resource where it’s going to generate hard cash for businesses, provincial government, federal government which can lead to spending programs and that’s good for all Albertans and Canadians.”

Several groups are still opposed to the project with some legal challenges still in the courts.

WATCH: Trans Mountain pipeline battle back in court

The fiasco over the Trans Mountain project is one of several issues causing feelings of alienation between Alberta and the federal government.

Anderson added that the federal government has made it clear that they can sell the project back to the private sector, after acquiring it for over $4 billion in 2018.

“My intention is to give them an asset that is worthy of that to get maximum value from a future acquisition.”

Lander said while construction of the pipeline might ease tensions, it won’t completely eliminate separatist movements like Wexit.

“The problem with separatism is once it’s there it’s never really gone. You can kind of cover it up for a bit but it just takes one more crisis or one more sense of feeling wronged before all those hostilities come back out.”

About 4,200 new hires are expected for the project with pipe scheduled to be laid by Christmas.

Construction is slated to finish by 2022.