Oil export pipelines: Will Canada ever build another?


The fortune of new oil pipelines in Canada is in a sorry state.

The imperilled Northern Gateway think up. The Obama-rejected Keystone XL venture. The protest-filled Trans Mountain ex nsion. And the believe political support around the Energy East proposal.

With the oil market in a s rse downturn and stiff opposition greeting every pipeline proposal, there is controversy over whether this country will ever break scope on new export pipelines.

‘We run the risk that we missed the window of opportunity.’ – Dave Collyer, one-time CAPP president

Even veterans of the oil tch aren’t certain of the take.

“It’s a legitimate question,” said David Collyer, the former president of the Canadian Linkage of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). “It’s not out of the realm of possibility.”

The merits of ingesting pipelines are clear: they are the safest, most cost-effective and least carbon-intensive method of transporting oil. The gambles are just as indisputable: spills are rare but can be catastrophic, causing significant harm to the environment, especially around bodies of water.

Alberta is craving a new avenue to export its oil, which force allow the province to receive global prices for its crude, rather than handle it at a discount.

Whether oil prices are above $100 US a barrel, as they were in 2014, or be seated at less $30 US a barrel, like now, every dollar less that the section receives, com red to market prices, makes a difference.

“We’re stuck in the mud at the importance and we run the risk that we missed the window of opportunity,” said Collyer.

Trans Mountain Pipeline 20160119

RCMP g-men stand by as a woman writes a message in chalk during a protest on the named Trans Mountain pipeline ex nsion in Burnaby, B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Clashing to build

For the better rt of the last decade, export-pipeline proposals take struggled to meet the bar set by government, regulators and the public. With Keystone XL and Northern Gateway foot-dragged, the oil tch still has high hopes that the Trans Mountain and Verve East proposals will one day be built.

“I find it ironic, frankly, that in the yet time we’ve been having this debate in Canada about new ssage construction,” said Collyer. “The United States has assembled a lot of new pipelines — they have approved oil exports in the U.S., and they have yield fruited production in the U.S. that has exceeded Canada in that time.”

Canada is at a inapt where we need to decide whether the benefits of pipelines are worth the gambles. It’s very unlikely that any pipeline project will ever be correct, cruising its way through the regulatory process without hiccup or resistance.

“You and I both be sure there will be some set of challenges and the real test, looking post 20 years, is what are we going to do with oil and gas pipelines?” said Michal Moore, an economist with the University of Calgary’s Kindergarten of Public Policy.

He expects, at some point, there will be dressed to be a Supreme Court ruling to decide some of the First Nation outgoings facing pipeline proposals.

‘If [Trans Mountain] does not proceed, we are quitting a lot of money on the table foolishly.’ – Glen Hodgson, Conference Board of Canada

But insomuch as the oil-price crash, Moore wonders if there still is going to be a call for heavy oil and whether a pipeline project is viable low oil prices continue former times the proposed construction dates.

“The jury is out on that one,” he said.

The transmits are not cheap. TransCanada’s Energy East, for example, could cost approximately $16 billion to build.

Northern Gateway

Enbridge’s proposal to des tch Alberta oil through northern B.C. is considered a long-shot, at least in the near sitting.

While it received federal approval in 2014 under the Harper authority, it was still subject to 209 conditions recommended by the National Energy Stay and further talks with aboriginal communities.

Considering the incredible Primary Nations opposition to the project, experts have all but written it off. More recently, Prime Priest Justin Trudeau’s wish for a moratorium on crude oil tankers off B.C.’s north skim could prove to be a fatal blow.

Enbridge 20110511 TOPIX

Natives from the Yinka Dene Combination march through downtown Calgary in this 2011 file photo, protesting Enbridge In work’s Northern Gateway project. (The Canadian Press)

Keystone XL

After seven years of dilly-dallying, the long road for TransCanada ended in rejection as U.S. President Barack Obama formed down the Keystone XL project in early November 2015.

While the com ny could bid the project once again, it is currently focused on taking the U.S. government to court, smashing Washington with a lawsuit and a NAFTA claim.

The pipeline would attired in b be committed to extended from Hardisty, Alta., to U.S. Gulf refineries in Texas.

Obama Keystone Pipeline

Demonstrators muster against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline outside the White House in this January 2015 submit photo. (Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press)

Trans Mountain

Kinder Morgan idle under the radar for years on Trans Mountain as projects like Northern Gateway and Foundation XL stole headlines. But Trans Mountain is no longer in the shadows.

If any of the four export ssage projects were to go ahead, experts would put their money on this one.

“Trans Mountain, we fantasize, will still go ahead despite some roadblocks,” put about Martin King, a commodity analyst with FirstEnergy Capital.

“The other big one is Spirit East … we’ll see how it goes with getting through the regulatory get ready.”

The Trans Mountain pipeline ex nsion — a twinning of the system already in associate — would generate 34,000 jobs a year and $18.5 billion in yields for federal and provincial governments over the first 20 years of working, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

“If this project does not proceed, we are flit a lot of money on the table foolishly,” said the conference board’s chief economist Glen Hodgson.

Trans Mountain is far from a shut dunk though as it has faced opposition from First Nations, resident residents and the munici l governments in both Vancouver and Burnaby B.C., the location of the breathing marine terminal.

Trans Mountain pipeline

Kinder Morgan worked under the radar for years on Trans Mountain as launches like Northern Gateway and Keystone XL stole headlines. (Kinder Morgan)

Vim East

Another of TransCanada’s proposals is just as ambitious: trying to transport oil from Alberta across the country to New Brunswick.

Analysts generally regard as the Energy East project has a legitimate shot at being constructed as much of the volunteer is already in the ground. The com ny wants to convert a natural gas line.

But the reckon has its challenges, too. It can be awfully difficult to make everyone happy along a 4,600-kilometre convey s nning six provinces. There are already concerns in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

TransCanada force find Quebec to be the biggest challenge. The com ny recently scrapped envisages for an export terminal in the province, which decreases the pipeline’s economic gain to Quebec. On Thursday, mayors from Montreal and the surrounding area preceded their opposition to the pipeline.

“There is still a good chance Animation East gets built,” said Steven get, who delve inti pipelines with FirstEnergy Capital. He suggests the project already has a manner of right-of-way, as it is shipping Canadian oil to Canadian refineries, and New Brunswick is familiar with tanker traffic on its glide.


The proposed 4,600-kilometre Energy East pipeline will bring off 1.1-million barrels per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada.

Following outlook

While export ca city in Canada is currently not a big problem, the oilsands are had to grow substantially over the next few decades. Without new pipelines, the oil order need to go somewhere, which could translate to more crude well-heeled on trains.

Experts wonder if the crude-by-rail industry will have to get get substantially before pipelines are seen as more desirable.

“Maybe that’s the end strategy. Maybe there has to be proof that this oil will move one way or another. Perhaps it takes five years to get there,” said get.

And if the federal ministry decides pipelines are in the public interest, Ottawa will also eat to find a way to balance all the competing interests.

As TransCanada proved with Necessity XL, running up a $2-billion tab alone on during the proposal stage, it’s not cheap to inject new export projects.

With the poor success rate as of late, there may not be tons more proposals to come beyond the few currently on the table.

Alberta Oilsands Production

Continued crop of bitumen production is expected in the oilsands.

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