Trans Mountain CEO says pipe construction could restart in 2019 on NEB timeline

CALGARY — The president and CEO of Trans Mountain Corp. says its sidelined pipeline project could be back on track by next year under a new National Energy Board hearing schedule, setting it up for a possible 2022 opening date.

The timeline unveiled by the federal pipeline regulator on Wednesday is “reasonable and fair,” said Ian Anderson, the former CEO of Kinder Morgan Canada who became head of the resulting Crown corporation when Ottawa closed its $4.5-billion purchase of the pipeline and its expansion project in early September.

He told reporters in Calgary it’s possible construction that was halted when the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the expansion project’s NEB approval in late August could be restarted in 2019.

“Sure, it’s possible,” he said. “If things go according to the timeline that’s been now started with the NEB and they have a recommendation by the middle of February and the government takes a few months for additional consultation, an order-in-council could be as early as next summer.”

He added construction is expected to take about 30 months, depending upon seasonal adjustments, which would mean the pipeline could be operational in 2022, about two years later than the most recent predicted in-service date.

The federal government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project in November 2016, following a recommendation by the NEB.

But the court cited insufficient consultation with Indigenous communities and a failure to assess the environmental impact of additional oil-tanker traffic in overturning that ruling.

Last week, the federal government ordered the NEB to go back and conduct a review of tanker traffic, paying special attention to the affect on killer whales, and issue its report no later than Feb. 22.

Environmentalists were quick to criticize the NEB’s schedule, which calls for public comments by next Wednesday on draft factors for the environmental assessment, the draft list of issues to be considered in the hearing and on the design of the hearing process itself.

Indigenous groups who are affected by the marine shipping issues but weren’t allowed to engage in the previous NEB process because of scope limits might have a difficult time preparing submissions in time, said Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada.

“Indigenous consultations are inextricably intertwined with review of marine impacts — orcas have important cultural significance — so charging ahead on this before sorting out the Indigenous consultation piece seems like a mistake,” he added.

Furthermore, the process is tainted by the fact that the government insists the project it now owns will be built no matter what, Stewart said.

The expansion will include a new pipeline running roughly parallel to the existing, 1,150-kilometre line that carries refined and unrefined oil products from the Edmonton area to Burnaby, B.C.

It will nearly triple the capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

The NEB named Lyne Mercier, Alison Scott and Murray Lytle to the panel that will conduct its reconsideration of the project.

The Canadian Press




Trans Mountain pipeline approval quashed by Federal Court of Appeal

Kinder Morgan shareholders approve the sale of the project to Ottawa with 99% support less than an hour after the ruling

The Federal Court of Appeal dealt the Trans Mountain expansion project a major setback Thursday, ruling the government of Canada had not fulfilled its duty to consult with First Nations on the pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia.

The decision means the National Energy Board will have to redo its review of Kinder Morgan Canada’s project. In a written decision, the court says the energy board’s review was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.

The court also concludes that the federal government failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before giving the green light to the project. That decision means the government will have to redo part of its consultations with Indigenous groups.

The judge wrote that “the consultation framework selected by Canada was reasonable and sufficient. If Canada properly executed it, Canada would have discharged its duty to consult.”

“However, based on the totality of the evidence I conclude that Canada failed in Phase III to engage, dialogue meaningfully and grapple with the concerns expressed to it in good faith by the Indigenous applicants so as to explore possible accommodation of these concerns,” the ruling states.

The Trans Mountain expansion would add shipments of 590,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to British Columbia by twinning an existing pipeline at an expected cost of $7.4 billion.

Kinder Morgan shareholders approved the sale of the pipeline with more than 99 per cent support Thursday, less than an hour after the federal government learned the pipeline construction permits had been quashed.

“No matter who owns this pipeline and tanker project, it will be stopped,” president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said in a release.

“Kinder Morgan executives recognized Justin Trudeau’s desperation to placate the oil lobby and are exiting the project with massive profits on the backs of Canadian taxpayers,” he said.

The Federal Court decision will effectively compel the NEB to repeat the third phase of its consultation process, which it carried out between February and November, 2016.

The NEB has not taken marine traffic implications into account in its prior decisions.

The regulator had argued that “since marine shipping was beyond its regulatory authority, it did not have the ability to impose specific mitigation conditions to address environmental effects” of increased marine traffic.

In recent years the NEB has been hobbled by broader questions about what should be the scope of its approval process. Last year, TransCanada Corp. halted its Energy East project after the NEB unexpectedly announced it would include downstream emissions in its environmental review of the pipeline.


Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion Approved By B.C. Government


Premier Christy Clark announced that the provincial government has issued an environmental assessment certificate for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The Canadian Press| Jan 11, 2017

VICTORIA – British Columbia granted environmental approval on Wednesday to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The federal government gave its approval for Kinder Morgan Canada’s $6.8-billion expansion of the pipeline late last year after the National Energy Board recommended it go ahead if 157 conditions are met.

Premier Christy Clark recently said five conditions the province placed on the project were close to being met. She said the government was still working with Ottawa on spill response and it was preparing to negotiate an economic benefits package with Kinder Morgan that reflects B.C.’s risks associated with the pipeline and increased tanker traffic.

The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing pipeline, which runs from near Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., and increases tanker traffic seven-fold.

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman acknowledge in a news release that the energy board has the primary responsibility for ensuring the project is developed, constructed and operated in a safe and secure manner.

B.C.’s approval comes with 37 conditions on top of the energy board’s requirements, including the consultation of aboriginal groups, the development of a species-at-risk plan, and that a plan is established to mitigate and monitor the impact of the project on grizzly bears.

The provincial government also wants research conducted on the behaviour and cleanup of heavy oils spilled in freshwater and marine aquatic environments to provide spill responders with improved information.

The ministers were required to release their decision on the project by this month to comply with a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the province needed to conduct its own environmental assessment instead of relying on the National Energy Board process.

They said the province looked where it could improve the project by adding conditions.

“Clearly, the project will have economic benefits for British Columbia workers, families and communities,” the ministers said in the statement. “However, we have always been clear economic development will not come at the expense of the environment. We believe environmental protection and economic development can occur together, and the conditions attached to the (environmental assessment) certificate reflect that.”

Some environmental groups, mayors in British Columbia communities affected by the project and aboriginal leaders have opposed the pipeline expansion.

Peter McCartney of the Wilderness Committee accused the government of “blatantly” aligning itself against the wishes of its own citizens by granting the environmental approval.

“Right when we need our leadership to stand up to Alberta and Ottawa, they buckle like a cheap lawn chair,” he said in a news release.

“We’ve known all along that the government’s five conditions were political posturing instead of a real assessment of the risks and benefits for B.C. British Columbians aren’t stupid. Those conditions were never worth the paper they were written on.”


Two First Nations in Ontario Launch Lawsuit and Injunction against TransCanada Pipelines


Lawsuit and injunction application brought by First Nations in Ontario against TransCanada Pipelines for work on the same line to be converted for the Energy East project

TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2017 /CNW/ – Two First Nations in northwest Ontario – Aroland and Ginoogaming – have just launched a precedent-setting lawsuit and injunction motion against TransCanada Pipelines, Canada and the National Energy Board, for doing and allowing damaging physical work on parts of the Mainline pipeline that runs through those First Nations’ traditional territories. This is the same pipeline that TransCanada, through its affiliate Energy East, is applying to convert from natural gas, to carry dilbit (crude oil) from the Alberta oil sands across Canada and into ships for export.

The injunction hearing is slated to be heard on January 25 at the Ontario Superior Court, in Toronto.

The physical work that the First Nations are seeking to stop – at least until the duty to consult and accommodate them about their constitutionally-protected rights is met – is called “integrity digs”. TransCanada intends to bring in heavy equipment and dig up a lot of land and expose the buried pipeline in a 30 km stretch that runs through those Nations’ traditional territories. TransCanada says it needs to do this to check and possibly repair the pipeline. TransCanada’s notice to the NEB says it intends to start the integrity digs work on January 18, but it has agreed to hold off until January 25. It also says it will continue this work up to July 18 2017.

“TransCanada is trying to push ahead with this intrusive work before the duty to consult and accommodate is met,” says Raymond Ferris, an employee working for the First Nations. “Neither they, nor the NEB, nor Canada, even admit that a duty to consult and accommodate under the Constitution is owed. TransCanada seems to take the position that since the pipeline was approved and first built starting in the late 1950s, before aboriginal peoples’ rights were ever considered, that any physical work on the land about the pipeline can be done without respecting such rights under the law today.”

“The integrity digs work will likely cause impacts on aboriginal and Treaty 9 rights to harvest (hunt, fish, trap, gather plants and medicines etc) and to protect burial grounds and other cultural heritage sites and values. They will cause impacts to the First Nations’ culture, sacred relationship to the land that is at the core of their identity as indigenous communities, and on their ability to continue to survive with the land,” says Kate Kempton, lawyer for the First Nations.

“Canadian law should require the First Nations’ consent before such activity can proceed, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canadian law is lagging behind where it needs to be in that regard. But at the very least, it requires meaningful consultation and accommodation sufficient to address the First Nations’ concerns,” says Kempton. “If Canadian law is not explicit that such requirements exist for new work on old pipelines approved in a bygone era, then it needs to be made explicit. We are pursuing such an explicit remedy here. In the lawsuit, we’re seeking declarations that the NEB Act regime which governs these pipelines, has to prohibit activities that infringe aboriginal and treaty rights. We are seeking an injunction to stop the planned integrity digs in the meantime.”

“Otherwise,” says Ferris, “pipeline companies can do pretty much what they want to First Nation lands, rights and cultures. We can’t let that continue. It defeats reconciliation. It further pushes down First Nations. How much further do we have to be pushed?”

One issue in the injunction motion is whether TransCanada is seeking to do the integrity digs work more to prepare the pipeline to be converted to carry crude oil for the Energy East project — which is far from being approved – as compared to any need to do the work to maintain the physical integrity of the pipe to carry natural gas, which is what is may be carrying now.

“We don’t know if any gas is currently moving through the pipeline right now. We haven’t been able to find that out, despite repeated requests,” says Ferris. “If it is, then since TransCanada first asked to do the integrity digs many months ago, they should have already consulted and accommodated the First Nations. The fact that no one has, is not a burden that the First Nations should bear, and is not an excuse to allow this work in defiance of the First Nations’ rights now. If the line is not carrying any gas, then why would TransCanada need to do any physical work to repair something that is now empty?”

“The NEB regime has to grow up to meet the requirements of aboriginal and treaty rights. If we don’t actually honour these rights, then they are rendered meaningless. Surely this is not what the federal government intends when it speaks of the need to bring about true reconciliation with the First Peoples through whose trust and through treaties the rest of the Canadian population came to live here,” says Kempton. “We’ll see what the court will do about this.”

SOURCE Aroland First Nation

For further information: Raymond Ferris: 807-627-8590 (Alternate: 807-329-5970); Kate Kempton (lawyer): 416-571-6775; Corey Shefman (lawyer): 204-230-3590

First Nations Must Be Full Partners In A New Pipeline Review Process And Rights Must Be Respected

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

First Nations must be full partners in a new pipeline review process and rights must be respected, AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde tells Senate Committee

OTTAWA, June 14, 2016 /CNW/ – First Nations must be full partners in the review, decision-making and regulation of pipelines, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and Alberta Regional Chief Craig Mackinaw today told the Senate Committee on Transport, calling for an overhaul of the National Energy Board process and the Pipeline Safety Act.

Canada needs a national energy strategy that involves Indigenous peoples at every step,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “We must make sure Indigenous peoples are involved in the design and delivery of any law or policy to find balance in federal regulation of energy resources.”

Alberta Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Mackinaw said, “Under the current system, First Nations are treated as bystanders, which is not in keeping with our inherent jurisdiction over these lands and our right to self-determination. First Nations must be full partners in the approval and regulation of pipelines, and you need us to help re-design the current broken system.”

Regional Chief Mackinaw stated that First Nations are neither always for, nor always against, development but want development to be responsible, sustainable and fully respectful of First Nations rights. “We have perspectives on all sides of the debate, just as there is nationally and globally, about where the balance lies between environmental protection and economic development. What Canada needs is a regulatory approvals process that ensures meaningful dialogue between First Nations, project proponents and the Crown.”

Under the current review process, the Regional Chief noted that First Nations are forced to undertake lengthy and costly court battles to ensure respect for First Nations rights: “Consent is already a firmly established concept in Canadian law.  The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adds that consent must be ‘free’, ‘prior’ and ‘informed’.  This shouldn’t be revolutionary. Of course, consent isn’t valid if it’s obtained by coercion. What is needed is a regulatory approvals process which ensures that First Nations can make informed decisions about development, and that the information provided by project proponents and by the Crown is relevant to the rights, interests and aspirations of First Nations.”

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 382, 613-292-0857,; Jenn Jefferys, AFN Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 401,

NEB Approves Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion


By Red Power Media, Staff, May 19, 2016

NEB approves Kinder Morgan pipeline with 157 conditions

The National Energy Board is recommending the federal government approve the company’s more than $5-billion twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The announcement came down today (Thursday), after more than two years of hearings and a record number of intervenors participating.

The National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) issued a 533-page report recommending Governor in Council approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, subject to 157 conditions.

The 157 conditions include regulatory and/or overarching requirements as well as requirements pertaining to project engineering and safety; emergency preparedness and response; environmental protection; people, communities and lands; economics and financial responsibility; and, project-related marine shipping.

The NEB review included an environmental assessment, as per federal regulations.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project proposes to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton, AB and Burnaby, B.C., increasing the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline System from 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 890,000 bpd.

The pipeline route from the Burnaby Mountain tank farm to the Westridge Marine Terminal is still not clear, as noted in the report. If Kinder Morgan can’t go through Burnaby Mountain, the line will likely run through the city’s Westridge neighbourhood.

The City of Burnaby has been fighting against the Trans Mountain pipeline for years and First Nations vow to kill the expansion with lawsuits.

Here are the main reasons the board said yes to the pipeline:

1.     Increased access for Canadian oil

2.     Hundreds of long term jobs, and thousands in construction

3.     Development for Indigenous communities

4.     Benefits from spending on pipeline materials

5.     Considerable government revenue

The board’s approval means the pipeline’s fate now rests with the Liberal cabinet, and the final decision will likely be announced in December.

Kinder Morgan has said construction will begin in 2017 and should be finished by 2019. The NEB says Kinder Morgan has until 2021 to start building the pipeline.

Uncertainty Abounds As Canada’s Energy Sector Enters 2016


Stephen Ewart, Calgary Herald

About the only certainty for the Canadian oil and gas sector is that the number of known unknowns abounds.

Uncertainty has always been a hallmark of the oil industry and the current list of variables is led by particularly volatile crude prices, but also includes the review of oil and gas royalties in Alberta, Ottawa’s plan to roll out a national framework on climate change along with implementation of Alberta’s newly released GHG strategy, and the industry’s enduring concern over access to foreign markets.

It was a second straight year of steep oil price declines in 2015 as crude slumped to its lowest levels since the global financial crisis in 2009 and added clarity may simply reaffirm the bleak outlook for the industry entering 2016.

With Canadian producers and drillers facing what’s been called “one of the most difficult economic times in a generation” significant change is needed — and already underway as the job losses will attest — to address the fundamentals of doing business in a high-cost basin in a low-price environment but there’s tremendous uncertainty over how companies will react and adapt.

Investment firm ARC Financial has calculated revenues for the oil and gas industry in Canada will be $91 billion in 2015 — or almost 40 per cent less than a year earlier.

Bankruptcies are already occurring in the especially grim junior sector.

Capital spending by oil and gas producers in Canada plunged from $81 billion in 2014 to $45 billion in 2015 as West Texas Intermediate crude declined by more than 30 per cent from January and closed 2015 at US$37.04 a barrel. The International Energy Agency conceded in December “there are very few reasons” to expect a price recovery in 2016.

The main energy index on the Toronto Stock Exchange similarly fell by almost 30 per cent in 2015.

During the year, the North American benchmark crude averaged US$48.76 a barrel; or only slightly more than the price WTI has averaged, in today’s dollars, over the previous 50 years. However, after three years of averaging more than US$90 a barrel, WTI hit a recent peak at $107 in June 2014 and has lost approximately 70 per cent of its value since then.

Influential U.S. financial institutions Citigroup and Goldman Sachs have warned crude could retreat into the $20s if the persistent global supply glut increases while Morgan Stanley said in its recent outlook for 2016 that “headwinds growing for 2016 oil” as production continues to defy lower prices and falling rig counts.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency predicts WTI will average $51 a barrel in 2016 but acknowledges that’s “subject to significant uncertainties as the oil market moves toward balance … prices could continue to experience periods of heightened volatility.” In Canada, Scotiabank has warned it expects WTI to average “no more than $40-45 a barrel” in 2016.

The new year will be rife with challenges as a number of key developments occur.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley delayed the royalty review report scheduled for December to early January to ensure “we don’t kick something out the door that’s not ready” but has already promised no surprises for industry and delayed any changes until January 2o17 as industry adjusts to what’s been a historic downturn.

Notley’s strategy to address greenhouse gas emissions are already announced with a carbon tax, 100-megatonne cap on GHGs from oilsands and the Alberta Energy Regulator assuming responsibility to reduce methane emissions from well sites and oilfield facilities. It remains to be seen what will comprise the national climate strategy Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised this spring. He’s said the plan with the provinces will be in place 90 days after the UN climate summit in Paris — so about March 12.

On May 20, the National Energy Board is scheduled to release its recommendations on Kinder Morgan’s plans to twin the existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta to suburban Vancouver.

With TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline denied in the U.S., Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline facing intense opposition in northern B.C. and TransCanada’s Energy East still early in the NEB’s review process, Trans Mountain’s project is key to the industry’s goal of accessing more global export markets.

In a decision critical to the beleaguered gas industry, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is expected to rule this spring on the application of Malaysia’s Petronas to build a terminal in B.C. to ship liquefied natural gas to Asian markets. A final investment decision from Petronas for the first of the LNG facilities for the West Coast would likely follow government approval.

It will be the oil price that determines the fate of the industry more than anything else.

After effectively scrapping production quotas in December — and with renewed U.S. and Iranian oil exports expected to hit global markets this month — the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is to meet June 2 to discuss the price war orchestrated by Saudi Arabia topush high-cost non-OPEC supply, including the oilsands, out of the market.

In an industry defined by uncertainty, Canadian producers have always known there’s nothing they can do about the price of oil and understood it’s up to them to change with the times to survive.

Stephen Ewart is a Calgary Herald columnist

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Two First Nations launch legal challenge over lack of pipeline consultation

First Nations protesters demonstrate against the Northern Gateway pipeline outside the Vancouver offices of oil giant Enbridge in 2012.
First Nations protesters demonstrate against the Northern Gateway pipeline outside the Vancouver offices of oil giant Enbridge in 2012.

By: Jason Payne | The Province

Two First Nations have launched a court challenge against the B.C. government, saying the province shirked its responsibility by failing to make a decision on the Northern Gateway project.

The Gitga’at First Nation and the Coastal First Nations say a proposed pipeline would put their coastal communities at risk of potential oil spills.

They argue the province signed an agreement to partner with the federal government without consulting them about the project in violation of their rights.

The First Nations say B.C.’s agreement with the National Energy Board meant it gave up power to review the project and impose tougher measures to protect the environment.

Coastal First Nations spokesman Art Sterritt says the province made a legal mistake by avoiding responsibility on the future of the project.

The Gitga’at have already asked the Federal Court of Appeal to recognize the band’s aboriginal title along the proposed tanker route where ships would carry oil from the pipeline.