Kinder Morgan CEO warns this kind of investment may be untenable for a private party to undertake.
VICTORIA — The CEO of Kinder Morgan says events in recent days have reinforced his concerns about the viability of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project.
“It’s become clear this particular investment may be untenable for a private party to undertake. The events of the last 10 days have confirmed those views,” Steve Kean said April 18.
“We’ve pointed out there are significant differences between governments, and those differences are outside of our ability to resolve.”
Earlier that day, BC Premier John Horgan’s government announced it will file by the end of April a long-promised court reference to clarify questions around provincial authority over such inter-jurisdictional megaprojects.
In Edmonton, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her office was told by Kinder Morgan that Kean’s comments were directly tied to BC’s court reference announcement and that the company’s broad commitment to the project remains unchanged.
“The message we’re getting back is that they (Kinder Morgan) are pleased with the high level of engagement that is happening between both us and the federal government,” said Notley.
Kinder Morgan, in a statement issued later, echoed Notley’s comments, saying: “We are actively engaged with the federal and Alberta provincial governments and those conversations will continue in good faith. Nothing has changed in that regard.”
BC Environment Minister George Heyman said the province will take its Trans Mountain pipeline reference case to court by April 30.
Heyman said the government will file its legal action over the issue of jurisdiction in the pipeline dispute in BC’s Court of Appeal, the highest court available for such an action.
He said the details of action and the question or questions it will ask the court to determine are still being worked out by the New Democrat government.
If BC loses in court, he said the government will continue to exercise its constitutional jurisdiction to protect the province’s environment and economy from the impacts of an oil products spill.
The pipeline project has been the subject of growing friction in recent weeks, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau summoning the premiers of Alberta and BC to Ottawa for talks and Alberta introducing legislation designed to restrict fuel shipments to BC.
Kinder Morgan, the US-based pipeline builder, announced earlier this month that it was pulling back on spending for the $7.4 billion expansion project and gave Trudeau’s government until May 31 to give a clear signal it will proceed.