Canada’s Watchdog: Kinder Morgan Complied With Stop Order

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By Tsvetana Paraskova, Oilprice.com

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has said that Kinder Morgan had complied with an order from last week to stop work that it was not yet authorized to perform along the planned route of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project envisages the twinning of the existing pipeline between Edmonton, Alberta and Burnaby, British Columbia, to raise the nominal capacity of the pipeline system to 890,000 bpd from 300,000 bpd.

Earlier this month, the NEB was made aware that Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC had installed fish spawning deterrents at one watercourse along the proposed pipeline route. Since the NEB considers this installation to be part of construction, and the start of construction has not yet been authorized in these areas, the regulator sent a letter to Trans Mountain last Friday. In that letter, the NEB told Kinder Morgan Canada that “the Board directs Trans Mountain to comply with section 31 of the NEB Act, by discontinuing any further installation of fish spawning deterrent mats.”

The NEB has now received information from Trans Mountain that “all field activity associated with the installation of the five remaining deterrents scheduled for fall 2017 has ceased.”

“The Board is continuing with its assessment and has not yet received a request from Trans Mountain to seek approval to proceed with the remaining planned spawning deterrents,” the Canadian regulator said.

The Trans Mountain expansion project is supported by the oil industry in Canada, but is fiercely opposed by environmentalists and indigenous tribes. The province of Alberta also supports it, while the new government in British Columbia has vowed to fight the project “to protect B.C. over Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker traffic expansion.”

Earlier this week, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the government of Canada, saying that it had failed to act in the best interests of the Coldwater Indian Band, when it neglected to modernize the terms of a decision from 1952 that had allowed Kinder Morgan to use Coldwater’s reserve for the pipeline.

“The Court’s decision does not affect the day-to-day operations of the Trans Mountain Pipeline nor the Trans Mountain Expansion Project,” Trans Mountain spokesperson Ali Hounsell told CBC News in an email.

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