Pipelines To U.S. Increasingly Likely As Trans Mountain’s Fate Uncertain

Suncor's base plant with upgraders in the oil sands in Fort McMurray Alta, on June 13, 2017.

CALGARY — After nearly a decade since the last major oil pipeline was built, and with existing ones brimming with crude, Canada’s energy industry is wondering when and if any new lifelines to foreign markets will go into the ground.

Those concerns were heightened last week after Kinder Morgan effectively put its Trans Mountain expansion project on hold until it can be assured British Columbia won’t continue trying to block the pipeline.

After a crucial meeting in Ottawa this weekend between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers of Alberta and B.C., B.C. premier John Horgan said he will continue to block the project.

While there certainly is risk, and nothing is 100 per cent certain…Line 3 and Keystone XL are likely to proceed.

But as Trans Mountain’s fate was put in jeopardy after the B.C. NDP’s election win, pipelines heading south to the U.S. have been propped up by the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has tied himself closely to the oil and gas industry.

Both TransCanada’s Keystone XL — which will run from Hardisty, AB, to Steele City, NB — and Enbridge’s Line 3 — which links Hardisty to Superior, WI — should avoid the political pitfalls that have sunk Energy East and Northern Gateway and have put Trans Mountain in doubt, said Zachary Rogers, a research analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

“While there certainly is risk, and nothing is 100 per cent certain…Line 3 and Keystone XL are likely to proceed,” said Rogers in an interview.

Energy East, Northern Gateway cancelled

Energy East, which would have delivered bitumen from the oilpatch to Eastern Canada, was cancelled by TransCanada Corp. in October 2017 after strong opposition from municipalities and Indigenous groups. Northern Gateway would have sent bitumen from Bruderheim, AB, to Kitimat, BC, for transportation to Asian markets. It too faced strong opposition, and was rejected by Trudeau in 2016.

Trump’s issuing of a presidential permit for Keystone XL revived a pipeline that had become a galvanizing symbol in the battle against climate change and the carbon footprint of oilsands production that ultimately led then-President Barack Obama to deem the project as not in America’s best interest in 2015.

But with state approval in Nebraska following Trump’s permission, Rogers now ranks the 830,000 barrel a day pipeline as the most likely to go forward.

“There are some difficulties obviously, on the regulatory front, but Keystone XL has largely cleared its last major regulatory hurdle at the end of …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel


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