Canada to buy controversial Trans Mountain pipeline

30 May, 2018, 05:31 | Author: Grady King
  • Chris Helgren  Reuters                       A crude oil storage tank at Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline terminal is seen in Kamloops B.C. in 2016

Pressed about why the federal government's $4.5-billion price tag was so much lower than Kinder Morgan's stated $7.4-billion project value, Morneau said Ottawa was purchasing all the relevant assets - but he avoided saying whether construction would increase costs.

In an extraordinary move aimed at boosting Canada's tar sands industry in the wake of sharp environmental opposition, the Canadian government said Tuesday that it will spend $3.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and triple its capacity.

But British Columbia's social democratic government recently joined environmental activists' fight against the pipeline, provoking a trade row with Alberta and leading Kinder Morgan to temporarily halt its construction until the dispute was resolved. But the pipeline faces strong opposition in British Columbia, particularly in the Vancouver area.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau made the announcement from Ottawa and says the deal represents a sound investment. Relations with Ottawa, Alberta, and the business community have been severely damaged.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized those differences in his first public comment since his government's announcement. He insists there is no contradiction between fighting for the environment and defending Canada's oil industry and the economic benefits it brings.

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Indigenous leaders, who have been at the forefront of a grassroots campaign against the Trans Mountain project, have vowed that the pipeline "will never be built". Because of pipeline bottlenecks and growth in output, the crude oil transported from northern Alberta has been selling at a substantial discount.

"So we're in no different position than we were before trying to find the money to build the expansion, trying to find customers for the expansion, these were all things Kinder Morgan could not do as a private-sector company and now the government of Canada is going to try to do them?" said May. He said that shareholders would receive a "fair price" for the assets.

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) is pleased that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP) will be constructed.

She suggested that could mean B.C.'s constitutional argument over that government's say in what moves through the province will have less relevance.

"I will continue to work for the people of British Columbia, with the full force of my efforts within the courts and within the rule of law".

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The Alberta government responded with a short-lived ban on the import of B.C. wines, and the passing of Bill 12, legislation that would allow the Alberta government to "turn off the taps" for oil imports to B.C.

He said the failure of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the West Coast and Energy East pipeline project to the East Coast means Canada remains highly dependent on the US market for exports. "We're now dealing with our own government".

But Horgan said the responsibility is now squarely on the federal government.

"Any climate change plan that ignores the needs of working people is doomed to fail", Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said after the deal was announced.

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