Multiple court cases, a wine ban and a $2 billion promise later, Alberta is finally getting back to work on the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The government of Canada has reached an agreement with Kinder Morgan that will see construction on the much-debated pipeline expansion project resume this summer. The federal government has also agreed to purchase the project and related assets for $4.5 billion, saying the decision will protect thousands of jobs in Alberta and B.C. and ensure Canadian resources get to world markets.
The province of Alberta is lending its enthusiastic support to the purchase, agreeing to provide up to $2 billion in financial backing that would kick in if any unforeseen problems come up as the project gets going.
The province will receive equity in the pipeline for any money spent.
“When Kinder Morgan issued its deadline on April 8, the government of Alberta committed that the deadline would be met,” said Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. “Today, we are delivering on that commitment. We are pleased to have worked with the federal government to ensure construction resumes, certainty is increased and Albertans and all Canadians enjoy the many benefits of having this project go forward.”
Gale Katchur, mayor of Fort Saskatchewan and chair of the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, said it was important for all levels of government to show their support for the project. Katchur was in Edmonton on May 28 with other mayors from the Edmonton metropolitan region to voice their collective support for the pipeline.
"So really we wanted to send a message saying, you know what, now is the time to get this deal done. This pipeline is vitally important,” Katchur said. “So it was really nice to see the majority of us united and standing firm for this project."
Katchur added that the pipeline project is key to ensuring that the Industrial Heartland stays a strong competitor in the petrochemical industry. With the pipeline underway, the Heartland could be one step closer to attracting billions of dollars in new business.
“There is a potential for [the Industrial Heartland] to attract an additional $30 billion in new investments by 2030. But it's only under the right investment climate,” Katchur said, adding that the pipeline expansion is one piece that needs to fall in place to attract investors.
The Trans Mountain expansion project will see a new pipeline built alongside an existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, increasing daily capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels and improving market access to the western United States and northeast Asia.