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Global Energy Advisory 18th August 2017

British Columbia’s government, in keeping with its election promise, has moved to stop the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline that would have catered to the growing production of crude oil from the oil sands in Alberta, transporting the crude to Canada’s west coast and opening up new export routes alongside its top client, the United States.

The federal government of Justin Trudeau approved the $5.87-billion project last year and the previous government of British Columbia gave it the green light in January, on 37 conditions on top of the 157 conditions from the National Energy Board. Now, the new government, which is a coalition between the New Democratic Party and the Greens, has declared its firm stance against it.

The project is being challenged in court on the grounds that the approvals granted Kinder Morgan for it were unconstitutional. A First Nation is suing the province for its approval specifically, and the new government will likely work with the plaintiffs to resolve the matter, seeing as both are on the same side.

Opposition against new pipeline projects has been growing both in Canada and the U.S., despite statistics showing that pipeline transportation is safer than the alternative – railways. Canada is soon to find itself in a tight spot unless new pipeline capacity comes on stream as oil sands output is growing at a rate that will soon exceed this capacity.

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