Ottawa Buying Trans Mountain Pipeline Assets for $4.5 billion

30 May, 2018, 05:26 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels
  • Live: Feds to spend $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain pipeline, B.C. terminal

The Canadian government will spend $4.5 billion to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline, the expansion project and Kinder Morgan's B.C. terminal.

The federal cabinet approved the purchase on Tuesday. If it ever finds an investor to take the pipeline off its hands in the future, it will be for far less than what the taxpayer has paid for it.

Currently, he said yesterday, Canada is losing US$11.56 billion (C$15 billion) annually because of the pipeline constraint.

The plan - similar to how Canada financed and managed shares in General Motors and Chrysler in 2009 during the financial crisis - will include a new Crown corporation to manage the project.

In those heady days, it made some economic sense to build a pipeline devoted to developing Alberta's high-cost oil sands for export. "There is more work to do, but we will not stop until the job is done".

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"We've always reckoned that the Trans Mountain expansion was logical in terms of, if you build the pipeline, the volumes will flow through it".

Finance Minister Bill Morneau believes Canada's authority to build the pipeline will be able to overcome any resistance, be it from protesters or the B.C. government.

The Trans Mountain project is created to increase capacity of the 65-year-old pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta, to Burnaby, B.C., from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.

"If you think about the dozens of pipelines that exist for crude oil, natural gas liquids, natural gas itself, petroleum products, all throughout the USA and Canada - and we track this stuff - I'm not aware of a single one that's owned by any government entity ... not on this scale".

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.

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Many indigenous people see the new pipeline as a threat to their lands, echoing concerns raised by Native Americans about the Keystone XL project in the US.

Alberta is making up to $2 billion available if needed to keep the project going, but Notley said it's "very possible" the province will never pay a cent of it.

Facing stiff environmental opposition from British Columbia's provincial government and activists, Houston-based Kinder Morgan earlier halted essential spending on the project and said it would cancel it altogether if the national and provincial governments could not guarantee it.

"The majority of Canadians support this project". But it's awful news for Canadian taxpayers who will ultimately have to bear the cost. "We've agreed to a fair price for our shareholders and found a way forward for this national interest project".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government has just 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. A lack of capacity in pipelines or in rail cars to ship oil produced in Alberta is also hurting Canada's energy sector.

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"It is not, however, the intention of the Government of Canada to be a long-term owner of this project".

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