Liberal government to buy Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5B

30 May, 2018, 05:28 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Live: Feds to spend $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain pipeline, B.C. terminal

To do so, Canada will pay the pipeline's current owner, Kinder Morgan, $4.5 billion in Canadian dollars - about $3.5 billion in US currency.

The transaction on which the federal government and Kinder Morgan agreed upon on Tuesday is expected to close in August 2018. Yet it would still be a better deal than the one the Finance Minister just made.

That said, if it takes federal ownership to construct a project that Kinder Morgan was unable to do, that may be sign of a broader failure in Canada - not a win.

"It's the kind of epic disaster of the last century I couldn't imagine a modern government doing, but that's exactly what we are doing", May 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, where oil is loaded onto tankers for export.

Under the proposed federal plan, the Trans Mountain pipeline will be placed under the stewardship of a new Crown corporation and Ottawa will divest itself of the project at a later date. Canada has announced it will purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline from developer Kinder Morgan to ensure it is completed.

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.

"For years and years and years, we've had pipelines built across Canada and the United States".

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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. Most of it is raw bitumen, which is why roughly one-third of what flows through the Trans Mountain pipeline must be diluent for the fuel to flow.

The federal government can in theory step in and disallow any provincial laws that British Columbia might use to block the pipeline, but this provision in the Canadian constitution has not been used since the 1940s.

Morneau said more spending would be needed to complete the expansion, but gave no precise financial details, and stressed he felt the project should be returned to the private sector.

The federal move has the full backing of Premier Rachel Notley, with Alberta also committing up to $2 billion to cover costs that arise from "unforeseen circumstances".

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.

Presumably, the cost to the new owners - us - will be about the same.

"Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built", Mike Hudema, a climate and energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, declared in a statement on Tuesday. But over the past 30 years, the Canadian government has launched a major privatization effort, selling Air Canada, Canadian National Railway and Petro-Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized those differences in his first public comment since his government's announcement.

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