Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Alberta premier cheers pipeline purchase; opponents express concern, caution

Alberta premier cheers pipeline purchase; opponents express concern, caution

Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.'s shares lurched higher, then fell, after the federal government announced early Tuesday it would buy its Trans Mountain pipeline assets for $4.5 billion.

Canada and Kinder Morgan agreed on a pricetag of 4.5 billion Canadian dollars ($3.5 billion), Finance Minister Bill Morneau said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

Kinder Morgan gave Ottawa until Thursday to convince it to proceed by settling down jittery investors who fear a court challenge from the B.C. government that would make the project too great a liability. "We won't stop until the job is done!" "It's still the right thing for the country", he said.

"(The expansion project) went through extraordinary reviews and was approved by the government of Canada 18 months ago", he said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr were adamant about the national importance of completing the expansion, including its role in creating jobs and being a tonic to the health of Alberta's oil industry.

Alberta's oil industry has seen its attempts to have other pipeline projects built sunk by regulatory and political opposition, including cross-border projects such as Keystone XL, still stalled because of opposition in Nebraska and South Dakota.

Even with all the advance speculation, the Saanich-Gulf Islands MP said she still found this morning's announcement incredible to hear.

Instead, an energy company which has followed the rules in good faith, spent almost a billion dollars in development and undergone exhaustive vetting to win regulatory approval has been impeded at every turn by opponents, including the government of British Columbia and the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver with what amount to nuisance court actions, given how Kinder Morgan has so far won 16 of these legal challenges in a row.

Wall now serves as a special advisor for Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, which represented Kinder Morgan in its initial National Energy Board application to expand Trans Mountain. "Horgan and the NDP will continue to play politics with British Columbia's future, and this time it will cost us billions".

According to the Pipeline Safety Act, $1 billion in financial assurances for the existing pipeline was in place based on a $500-million parental guarantee from Kinder Morgan.

Under the agreement between the federal government and Kinder Morgan, the company would resume construction on the project, which was put on hold in April.

Horgan continued to say that it doesn't matter who owns the pipeline, what matters is defending the province's coast, lands, rivers and streams from the impact of a dilbit spill.

Canada's long-term plan is to finance the costs of construction through the paid contracts with oil producers to ship their oil through the pipeline, and recoup its investment through an eventual sale.

While British Columbia has battled the project, Alberta has been a major backer, leading to increasingly testy battles between the two governments and calls for Ottawa to intervene.

Her tweet also stated "this project has more certainty than ever before". Besides Trans Mountain, it also owns crude-oil storage and rail terminals in Alberta, the Vancouver Wharves Terminal and the Cochin condensate pipeline system. Greenpeace, in its own statement, said Trudeau's government has "signed up to captain the Titanic of tar sands oil pipelines, putting it on a collision course with its commitments to Indigenous rights and the Paris climate agreement".

"Canada stands to sacrifice its global reputation, irreplaceable iconic species like the Southern resident Killer Whales, and its commitments to meet its Paris Climate targets and to reconcile with Indigenous people - all while putting enormous risk on Canadian taxpayers".

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