(Bloomberg) -- Canadian heavy crude weakened as the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion faces yet another delay due to “technical issues” that emerged during construction.

The state-controlled pipeline company is working to “determine the safest and most prudent actions for minimizing further delay,” according to a statement. The company didn’t provide a new estimate for start-up of commercial operations, which had been planned for April, but said it’s still working “towards the anticipated in-service date in the second quarter of 2024.”

Heavy Western Canadian Select’s discount to the US benchmark widened to $18 a barrel from $16.10 on Friday, according to market participant and General Index.  

The 890,000-barrel-a day pipeline, which nearly triples existing capacity with the construction of a twin line, has been plagued by multiple delays. Costs have quadrupled to nearly C$31 billion ($23 billion).

The line was expected to be filled with oil starting next month with the first cargo being shipped from Vancouver in April. The company averted potentially “years” of delays earlier this month when the Canada Energy Regulator approved the use of smaller pipe in a section where Trans Mountain was facing drilling challenges through a mountain. The company has applied for multiple variances in recent months due to drilling challenges through the rugged terrain of British Columbia. 

Trans Mountain would be the biggest addition of oil export pipeline capacity in more than a decade and the first expansion of the country’s sole oil conduit to the West Coast, allowing access to markets in Asia and the US West Coast. Canadian oil producers in Alberta are struggling with heavy rationing on existing oil pipelines due to rising production and a lack of export conduits. 

(Adds second-quarter start in second, details of pipeline in final paragraphs)

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