Canada’s Pipeline Purchase Won't Quell Foes But May Disable Them

Kinder Morgan reported the spill at its Darfield station around 5 a.m

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.

The Canadian government said on Tuesday it will buy the Trans Mountain assets for $4.5 billion, hoping to salvage a project that faces formidable political and environmental opposition.

"We continue to engage in financial discussions on the way we are going to do that", he said.

"B.C.is doing all the right things" said May.

The pipeline purchase would also transfer to the federal government all of the people involved in building the expansion, including project managers and construction workers.

"They're not in business to exit assets", he said.

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.

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In return, Kinder Morgan will proceed with its original plan to twin the pipeline this summer while the sale is finalized, which likely won't happen until August, Morneau told a news conference in Ottawa.

You need to get the oil to market on a competitive basis, absolutely essential.

In 2007, Kinder Morgan reported to the National Energy Board that it valued the Trans Mountain pipeline system at $550 million.

Trudeau also spoke with BC Premier John Horgan following today's pipeline decision.

Alberta will contribute up to C$2 billion toward unforeseen costs, payable once the project is complete, Premier Rachel Notley 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. That money will flow to the government, or any future buyer of the assets if a hunt Ottawa and Kinder Morgan are conducting bears fruit.

Kean said the company would restart construction using federal government funds before the closing of the deal, expected late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2018.

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"It seems completely insane", May said.

"Our government is determined to defend British Columbia's interests within the rule of law and in the courts", said Horgan.

Notley added: "This is the most certainty this project has ever had".

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.

"They were asking for certainty and a pathway to get the get the project built", he said. "They are getting a very good value", said Paul Bloom at Bloom Investment Counsel Inc, which owns about 300,000 shares in Kinder Morgan Canada.

"Canada stands to sacrifice its worldwide 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".

"This move sets a bad precedent and signals to other prospective investors that large projects such as pipelines can not be built by private industry in Canada", said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a right-leaning group that advocates for lower taxes.

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While Ottawa's move is notionally positive for Canadian oil producers, the nationalization of key infrastructure is unlikely to boost investment confidence in Canada, noted GMP First Energy analyst Robert Fitzmartyn.

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