Key­stone XL set­back will cost Cana­dian in­dus­try ‘mil­lions’, says as­so­ci­a­tion

The Observer (Sarnia) - - BUSINESS -

DAN HEAL­ING

CAL­GARY — The Cana­dian oil in­dus­try re­acted with frus­tra­tion and bit­ter­ness Fri­day af­ter a U.S. judge or­dered a halt to the Key­stone XL pipe­line project un­til it passes fur­ther en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view.

The de­ci­sion on Thurs­day means longer de­lays in find­ing a way to drain a glut of oil in Western Canada that has driven price dis­counts to multi-year highs and stalled in­vest­ment, said Tim McMil­lan, CEO of the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Petroleum Pro­duc­ers.

“It’s a vul­ner­a­bil­ity that we can’t con­trol and will cost us hun­dreds of mil­lions if not bil­lions of dol­lars as a na­tion and thou­sands of jobs,” he said Fri­day.

“And the only rea­son it does have such a mas­sive im­pact on us is self-in­flicted wounds here at home on projects that could have given us re­silience against this sort of rul­ing.”

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris found Thurs­day that the po­ten­tial im­pact of Tran­sCanada Corp.’s $10-bil­lion pipe­line had not been con­sid­ered as re­quired by fed­eral law. En­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and Na­tive Amer­i­can groups had sued to stop the project, cit­ing prop­erty rights and po­ten­tial oil spills.

The judge, who was ap­pointed by for­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama, is­sued a fed­eral court or­der block­ing a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion per­mit for con­struc­tion of the pipe­line.

Tran­sCanada re­mains com­mit­ted to the project, spokesman Terry Cunha wrote in a brief email on Fri­day, adding the com­pany has re­ceived the judge’s rul­ing and is re­view­ing it.

The Cal­gary-based pipe­line com­pany’s shares fell by as much as 2.75 per cent in early trad­ing but re­cov­ered to $51.49, down 1.4 per cent, by 3 p.m. EDT on the Toronto Stock Ex­change.

Last Jan­uary, Tran­sCanada said it had se­cured ship­ping com­mit­ments of roughly 500,000 bar­rels per day on the line, in­clud­ing a deal with the Al­berta govern­ment to ship 50,000 bpd of provin­cially owned crude.

“This rul­ing by a for­eign court un­der­scores once again the ur­gent need for Canada to build pipe­lines within our own bor­ders, in­clud­ing the Trans Moun­tain ex­pan­sion,” said Al­berta En­ergy Min­is­ter Marg McCuaig-Boyd in Ed­mon­ton.

“Today’s dif­fer­en­tial tells the story. We’re giv­ing away our re­sources cheap.”

The fed­eral govern­ment bought Trans Moun­tain and its ex­pan­sion project for $4.5 bil­lion last sum­mer only to have the Fed­eral Court of Ap­peal strike down its Na­tional En­ergy Board ap­proval, cit­ing in­ad­e­quate In­dige­nous con­sul­ta­tion and fail­ure to con­sider im­pacts on ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment.

Ot­tawa de­cided not the ap­peal the rul­ing and is in­stead work­ing to ad­dress is­sues iden­ti­fied by the court.

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