Trans Mountain court action continues, John Horgan says

Carlton Robbins
May 31, 2018

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Tuesday that Ottawa will spend $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline and Kinder Morgan Canada's core assets, with planned work to twin the pipeline getting underway immediately at a further additional cost.

Horgan said his province will continue to seek a legal remedy to stop the expansion.

Canada's government stepped in Tuesday to take over a controversial pipeline expansion project to ensure that it gets built in the face of stiff opposition from environmental activists and a regional government.

"We believe this is the best way to protect thousands of well-paying jobs and the safest and most effective way to get our resources to world markets", Morneau told a news conference in Ottawa after the meeting, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr at his side.

However, GMP FirstEnergy said the buyout was negative for future Canadian investment prospects.

"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".

"Canadian equities have been beat down relative to their USA peers and certainty around takeaway capacity will be helpful in getting fair value for Canadian crude oil as well as Canadian companies", Forrest said.

Export Development Canada will finance the purchase, which includes the pipeline, pumping stations and rights of way along the route between Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., where oil is loaded onto tankers for export.

"Those guarantees are still going to be required in my opinion", said Canaccord Genuity analyst David Galison, who added that British Columbia's opposition to the project would continue to pose a threat to its construction.

The pipeline expansion would triple the capacity of an existing line to ship oil extracted from the oil sands in Alberta across the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies.

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"They kidnapped their own project", she said, "held it for ransom and said by the end of the month they'd shoot the hostage".

"This is a major step forward for all Canadians". We met the deadline.

"As of today, this is the most certainty that this project has ever had", she said. Canada has the world's third largest oil reserves but 99 percent of its exports now go to refiners in the USA, where limits on pipeline and refinery capacity mean Canadian oil sells at a discount.

Horgan did not discourage people in B.C. from protesting against the pipeline.

The news comes as the project has been pegged back by numerous regulatory delays that could see construction stretch beyond the latter half of 2020, costing Kinder Morgan vast sums of money that has resulted in the firm threatening to abandon the project. "We've agreed to a fair price for our shareholders and found a way forward for this national interest project".

Ottawa has the constitutional authority to build interprovincial projects like pipelines, but B.C. Premier John Horgan has gone to court to get a judge to weigh in on whether B.C.'s jurisdiction for the environment would allow him to regulate what flows through the pipeline.

But Morneau said the Alberta-British Columbia feud - which led Alberta to boycott British Columbia wines and threaten to cut the neighboring provinces fuel supplies - "cannot be allowed to fester".

"We maintain our previous concern that the federal Liberal government will likely be highly reluctant to exercise force approaching the window of the next election cycle, expected next fall", they wrote.

Notley said there's a difference of opinion among Indigenous communities, and many support the pipeline.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Horgan five minutes before Morneau made the plan public Tuesday morning.

Canada loses $15 billion every year on the sale of oil because the US remains its only export customer, resulting in a lower price, Trudeau argues.

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