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British Columbia’s government still wants a US$780-million (C$1-billion) payment pledge to it by Kinder Morgan for the expansion of the Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline, despite its staunch opposition to the project, the Globe and Mail reports.
Kinder Morgan earlier this week agreed to sell the project to the federal Canadian government but a clause in the original contract with the previous B.C. government stipulated the province is due a payment of up to C$1 billion on a profit-sharing basis over a period of 20 years.
The interesting thing is that the payment was granted to a government that approved of the project in full, while the NDP cabinet in power now has been very active in trying to delay the project. In fact, it was these delays that eventually led Kinder Morgan to drop the project, leaving it to anyone willing to pick it up and try to make it work.
This turned out to be the federal government, which approved in back in 2016 and has been supporting it ever since without, however, finding a way to put an end to the opposition.
The Globe and Mail quoted B.C. Attorney General David Ebby as saying “The province is fully living up to its commitments under the agreement, and we expect that any future owner of the project would live up to theirs,” noting that the original agreement between the province and Kinder Morgan included no condition that the provincial government cannot change its mind about the Trans Mountain expansion.
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This change of mind was no surprise after the NDP won the right to form a minority government campaigning that it would do anything within legal limits to stop the project. This strategy has worked: the provincial government has approved 220 out of 756 permit applications by Kinder Morgan and is reviewing another 435.
The rest are yet to be submitted, which will now be the job of the investors that the federal government is seeking to sell the project on. All this smacks of further delays, effectively making B.C. the winner in the battle for Trans Mountain for the time being.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.