Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Canada's Government Buys Controversial Oil Pipeline, To Ensure It Gets Expanded

Darfield pump station The Darfield pump station is about 80 kilometres north of Kamloops B.C
Frank Williams | 30 May, 2018, 05:37

"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.

It is subject to approval by Kinder Morgan's shareholders.

This given the court challenges to stop the pipeline by B.C. Premier John Horgan's NDP government and Indigenous opponents, along with protests by environmental radicals who want to kill it at all costs.

The deal ensures construction that was suspended April 8 by Kinder Morgan's jittery investors will now begin immediately under the ownership of a Crown corporation, with plans for the federal government to seek other investors to soon take it over.

The Council of Canadians, meanwhile, attacked Ottawa's purchase as a "Big Oil bailout" that would not remove obstacles to the pipeline expansion.

"I think they needed to leave all the options on the table and, certainly, the private marketplace would have taken effect", she said. "This is an investment in Canada's future", he said.

That terminal is where the diluted bitumen from the pipeline would be loaded onto tankers and shipped out to sea, with the ultimate goal being to sell Canadian oil in Asia.

Kean did not say why he chose to sell rather than absorb the risk of further delays. "The need for federal tax payers to purchase this project have exposed fundamental flaws in the regulatory systems at all levels of government". "Canada will work with investors to transfer the project, and related assets, to a new owner or owners in a way that ensures that the project's construction and operation will proceed in a manner that protects the public interest", he said.

The company has spent more than $1-billion, about $3 a share, on the expansion project to date, RBC said.

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On Parliament Hill, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May called the purchase "an historic blunder with taxpayer dollars", citing a document from the National Energy Board that says Kinder Morgan bought the existing pipeline from its previous owner for $550 million in 2007 - a far cry from what the Texas company will get by selling it to Ottawa, she said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau stacks his notes following a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. The move ended weeks of speculation sparked by Kinder Morgan's threat to abandon a project facing "unquantifiable risk" as the British Columbia government vowed to use every tool to block it. "I mean, it seems like this is a project that the federal government is going to push through at all costs".

He said it threatens Canada's reputation as a safe place to invest, puts thousands of jobs at risk and holds back Canada's economic growth.

The ensuing uncertainty, paired with vociferous opposition from environmental groups and some Indigenous communities in B.C., prompted Kinder Morgan to halt investment until the federal government could inject some certainty into the project.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was much happier about today's announcement, which she showed through a series of tweets throughout the morning.

"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".

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

Currently, 99 percent of Canada's oil is sold to the United States at a discount, and access to the Pacific coast is seen as key to diversifying the world's sixth-largest oil producer's energy exports.

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