Sci-tech

Canada to buy Kinder Morgan pipeline project assets

Canada to buy Kinder Morgan pipeline project assets

The Government of Canada has reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan to buy the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and related pipeline and terminal assets for US$3.5 billion (C$4.5 billion), as the federal government stepped in to save the project after British Columbia's fierce opposition to the project was threatening to derail it.

While the Canadian government says it does not plan to be the long-term owner of the pipeline, its decision to purchase the project on Tuesday is part of an effort to ensure the massive pipeline expansion proceeds this summer as planned.

Morneau said more investment would be needed to complete the expansion, and stressed he felt the project should be returned to the private sector.

The Canadian government said on Tuesday that it would buy a pipeline that has been the focus of widespread protests by environmentalists and some Indigenous groups, putting the government squarely on the side of the country's oil industry.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with 350.org, argued that Trudeau's move demonstrates that he "still hasn't learned two simple lessons: you can't be a climate leader and build massive fossil fuel projects and you can't ignore Indigenous rights and preach reconciliation". The deal includes the existing pipeline that's been in operation since 1953.

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On their way into the meeting, few members of cabinet had anything to say about the controversial energy project, other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who stated: "We're going to get that pipeline built".

Kinder Morgan, the company behind the pipeline, suspended non-essential spending on the project in April.

When the sale is finished, Canada will continue construction on its own, with plans to eventually sell it all in the future once market conditions improve.

The company has put $1.1 billion into the $7.4 billion pipeline, including funds spent on upgrading the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, Kean said in a statement on April 9.

Opponents of the Kinder Morgan project are concerned over the environmental impact of extracting more fossil fuels from Alberta's oil sands and the possibility of an oil tanker spill in Canada's Pacific waters. The 980-kilometre (600-mile) expansion is seen by the oil industry as a crucial link to Asian markets, allowing producers to diversify away from the USA, which takes the vast majority of Canadian oil exports. "The government was under tremendous political pressure to get this deal done".