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Global Energy Advisory - 16th March 2018

Pipeline

Alberta has stepped up its fight with British Columbia over the extension of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline that B.C.’s government is staunchly opposing. The Albertan parliament this week unanimously voted in favor of a motion supporting the Kinder Morgan project.

The motion follows statements from Prime Minister Rachel Notley and Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell, the latter of whom warned Alberta might reduce oil and gas flows to British Columbia in retaliation for the opposition.

The Albertan parliament also insists that the federal government pressures British Columbia into backing down from its efforts to stop Trans Mountain’s expansion. According to the conservative party, Ottawa has not done enough to push forward the project that it approved last year.

Meanwhile, oil producers from Alberta have found another way to get their crude to the western North American coast and from there to Asian markets. Earlier this month, the first cargo of Albertan heavy crude left on a tanker to China from Portland, Oregon.

Access to Asian markets is precisely the point of expanding Trans Mountain, to boost its capacity threefold. Yet the expansion would substantially increase tanker traffic at B.C.’s ports and its new government along with a strong environmentalist lobby is against this.

The government in Victoria argues that the more tankers call at its ports, the higher the risk of a spill. While statistically correct,…

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