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The federal government of Canada will announce its final decision on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in mid-June, Finance Minister Marc Garneau told media. Interestingly, the decision may be to drop the project altogether, which was in the cards when the government bought the project from exasperated Kinder Morgan.
When Ottawa bought the Trans Mountain expansion from TransCanada last year, it planned to look for buyers to pass it on to and have it completed. Since then, opponents of the project have stepped up the pressure and challenged the project at the Federal Court of Appeal.
When asked what the most likely decision was, the federal Finance Minister said, as quoted by The Province, “I am not going to prejudge the outcome of that decision. We’re focused on having all of the work done to enable us to make a decision based on having done our homework and satisfying the Federal Court of Appeal.”
The controversial project pitted against each other two provinces—Alberta and British Columbia—and also about a dozen First nations, some of them strongly opposing the project and others willing to buy it. The former took their case to the appeals court. The latter last month discussed an acquisition with the federal government, including Morneau.
Currently, the federal government is conducting consultations with First Nations regarding the project, evidently in an attempt to address all possible concerns that opponents may have. Should the outcome of the consultations be positive, work on the project could start fairly quickly, the business entity in charge of the expansion said.
The federal government of Canada last year bought the Trans Mountain expansion project from Kinder Morgan 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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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.