TransCanada Cancels Energy East Oilsands Pipeline

Posted October 06, 2017

October 8, 2015: Environmental group Environmental Defence says the National Energy Board is rushing the process for Energy East by gathering oral traditional evidence from aboriginal bands before it has received a complete application.

The company said it would take a C$1 billion after-tax non-cash charge in its fourth quarter. The industry association said it was "extremely disappointed" with Thursday's announcement.

Some industry analysts have questioned the need for the Energy East project after TransCanada's 830,000-bpd Keystone XL project received U.S. approval to transport oil from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast and Kinder Morgan won federal approval of its Trans Mountain pipeline project to almost triple the capacity of the 1,150-kilometre line running from Edmonton to Burnaby, 890,000 bpd.

"TransCanada was forced to make the difficult decision to abandon its project, following years of hard work and millions of dollars in investment".

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The project was a 4,600 kilometre pipeline that would have carried up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil a day. It was supported by the governments of New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta, but opposed by Quebec. The province's environmental regulation agency quickly suspended hearings into the project, which were meant to conduct an environmental assessment of the risks and benefits and produce a report to Quebec's environment minister.

"We supported the Energy East pipeline because it would have provided supply options and access to western Canadian crudes for our Montreal refinery and also would have provided access to new markets which is critical for Canadian producers".

"We believed if TransCanada continued with the process, the project would be approved". It said it had to review an NEB panel's decision to allow consideration of greenhouse gas emissions caused by producing and processing the oil transported in the pipeline, an unprecedented expansion of the scope of the inquiry. Because regulators failed to reach a decision on the project, TransCanada expects "no recoveries of costs from third parties". "Our government understands that deliberation on upstream emissions and land-use integrity is important and must continue. Investors need confidence and we look forward to seeing that certainty in place soon", she said. Energy East would have moved Alberta oilsands production to an Irving Oil operation in Saint John.

The B.C. government doesn't share her view, however, and is now part of a court challenge against Trans Mountain being heard this week.

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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant, vocal supporters of the project, are said to be "disappointed". In a statement, he sought to console job-seeking constituents who were counting on the pipeline's approval.

In late August, the National Energy Board - an independent regulatory agency that oversees worldwide and inter-provincial oil and gas pipelines - announced it would consider upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions in determining whether the Energy East pipeline was in the national interest. As the proposal was cancelled on Thurs.

TransCanada says it will inform the National Energy Board that it will no longer be proceeding with its applications for both pipelines. The same logic that killed Energy East should help kill Keystone XL.

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