Canada's Dirty $20-Billion Pipeline Bailout

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The federal Liberal government plans to spend $4.5 billion to buy Kinder Morgan Canada's existing Trans Mountain pipeline and its troubled expansion project, which the company called "great day for Canada, for our customers and for our employees".

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.

Canadian taxpayers, conscripted by Trudeau, have now assumed all of the risk from Houston-based Kinder Morgan, which halted work on the pipeline last month, threatening to abandon the project by May 31, because it was too financially risky to proceed.

"We need to deal with the political uncertainty", he said. "It's still the right thing for the country", he said.

One man said he thought the project would be profitable for Canada.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr were adamant about the national importance of completing the expansion, including its role in creating jobs and being a tonic to the health of Alberta's oil industry.

"We've always reckoned that the Trans Mountain expansion was logical in terms of, if you build the pipeline, the volumes will flow through it".

"I made a promise to the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueum First Nations that I would stand with them in opposing this disastrous pipeline and tanker project", she said in a press release.

The Government of Canada has reached a deal with Kinder Morgan to buy the highly contested Trans Mountain Pipeline.

If the federal government took just $9 billion from its proposed $20-billion bailout for Kinder Morgan, it could fund three partial upgraders in Alberta capable of upgrading 300,000 barrels of bitumen a day. It certainly won't cost any less than the almost $7.5 billion Kinder Morgan had allocated for it.

The twinning of the 1,150-kilometre-long Trans Mountain pipeline between Strathcona County, near Edmonton, and Burnaby, B.C., will almost triple its capacity to an estimated 890,000 barrels a day and increase traffic off B.C.'s coast from approximately five tankers to 34 tankers a month.

Green Party leader and MLA for Saanich-Gulf Islands Elizabeth May said Kinder Morgan was "laughing all the way to the bank".

Kinder Morgan Canada will continue to hold an integrated network of crude tank storage and rail terminals in Alberta, the company said.

Kean said the Canadian government would help search for an alternative buyer.

"To investors considering Canada as a place to build big, important, transformative projects like the Trans Mountain expansion, we want you to know that you have a partner in Ottawa", Morneau said. "It might", said David Austin, a lawyer at Clark Wilson LLP in Vancouver who has appeared before regulatory tribunals and advised on energy project development. Currently, he said yesterday, Canada is losing US$11.56 billion (C$15 billion) annually because of the pipeline constraint.

"It does not change the course that the Government of British Columbia has been on", Horgan said.

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

Canada's long-term plan is to finance the costs of construction through the paid contracts with oil producers to ship their oil through the pipeline, and recoup its investment through an eventual sale.

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.

"He had an opportunity to walk away from pipeline politics and get on with the real work of leading Canada, and the world, in a 100 per cent renewable energy revolution, but instead he's opted to ignore science, Indigenous rights and the voices of people across Canada and bailed out a risky, unwanted pipeline with public money".