A group of First Nations in Alberta in British Columbia that are involved in the oil and gas industry are mulling over buying a stake in the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline, the Globe and Mail reports. However, regulatory hurdles may prevent them from doing so.
The hurdles in question are actually two bills being debated currently by the Canadian parliament that, if passed into laws, would effectively put an end to the Trans Mountain project, making any investment in it pointless.
The first piece of proposed legislation, Bill C-69 concerns the National Energy Board. Its authors propose to dissolve the NBE and replace it with another body, a Canadian Energy Regulator, which would take on many but not all of the responsibilities of the NEB, which has been attacked for being too close to the energy industry to be unbiased in its decisions on various projects.
If the bill passes, the responsibility for reviewing new energy projects, including the Trans Mountain expansion, would pass to the country’s Impact Assessment Agency, the IAAC. This, according to the First Nations, could reduce the chances of Trans Mountain ever seeing the light of day.
However, the second bill could kill the project right away. Bill C-48 is a proposal to ban tanker traffic off the northern coast of British Columbia, rendering the expansion of the pipeline pointless. Related: Heavy Crude: From Glut To Shortage
“As it stands now, we would not invest. If it was a sure thing, maybe,” a representative of the group of 120 First Nation bands supporting the project told the Globe and Mail. “If these two bills go through in their existing forms, they are deal killers,” Roy Fox, chief of the Blood Tribe from southern Alberta, also said.
The federal government of Canada last year bought the Trans Mountain expansion project from TransCanada for US$3.4 billion (C$4.5 billion) when the latter said it was reluctant to pursue the project in the face of too many delays and strong opposition from environmentalists and the new government of British Columbia. It then said it would seek other buyers for the project to carry it out.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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