Oilpatch pinning hopes on Trans Mountain Pipeline

Posted Jun 15, 2019 by Karen Graham
As excitement builds in the oilpatch over the pending approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline by the Liberal government, a former Liberal environment minister is urging Prime Minister Trudeau's cabinet to reject the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Kinder-Morgan Canada
David Anderson holds a law degree and served 10 years in the cabinets of prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. While he was environment minister in 2002, Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.
Some of Anderson's other accomplishments include getting the Species at Risk Act passed by Parliament and signed into law in 2004 and becoming an honorary director of West Coast Environmental Law. He has previously spoken out against the Trans Mountain project.
In a letter dates June 11, 2019, Anderson writes: "There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen," according to CTV News Canada.
As big an environmentalist as Anderson actually is, his letter does not focus on the environment or the climate crisis. Instead, he takes aim at the economic argument for the project. Proponents of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and for that matter, any additional pipelines needed to move Alberta tar sands bitumin say that hundreds of jobs and the very life of the Alberta energy sector is at stake.
Anderson looks at proponents' notions as being a "perceived need for a pipeline connection with tidewater in order to sell Alberta bitumen in Asian markets, where, so it is claimed, it would find new purchasers. With respect, you and other government ministers have yet to provide evidence in support of that hope," he wrote.
Anderson also points to some hard-to-digest facts people refuse to accept. He claims that Asian refineries are looking at getting conventional light and medium crude oil from Nigeria and the Middle East rather than Alberta's product. "Bitumen is expensive to produce, hard to handle and provides no security of supply advantages," he wrote.
Protesters marching against Trans Mountain pipeline March 10  2018 in British Columbia
Protesters marching against Trans Mountain pipeline March 10, 2018 in British Columbia
Jason Redmond, AFP/File
Another point Anderson makes is that Alberta's bitumin has not developed any significant offshore market in Asia or anywhere else. This is because there are not that many buyers - and there never has been. "That remains the situation today, and there is little to suggest it will change in the future. Building a new pipeline will not change the market," he writes.
Canada's two major competitors are Venezuela and Mexico and they've faced the same low demand and low prices that have eroded the value of Alberta bitumen, he added. "You'd think the people who own the pipeline, the Canadian taxpayers, should be informed of what their asset is likely to bring in," he said.
Excitement over the pipeline is strong
In Calgary this week, the CP Rail line drew a great deal of excitement when a train carrying hundreds of green-coated, wide-diameter steel pipe rolled through the city, according to the Financial Post.
“Something is definitely developing,” said Canoe Financial senior portfolio manager and director Rafi Tahmazian, who saw the pipe-laden carriages and said a photo of the train moving westbound circulated between analysts and energy sector office workers.
As a matter of fact, the Financial Post has confirmed that with the amount of pipes that have already arrived at Trans Mountain work sites, nearly one-third of the total pipes needed is already in place.
And as many people are saying, why in the world would the federal government spend taxpayer money on a pipeline if they weren't going to go ahead and build it? After all, Trans Mountain Corp. has said the expansion will inject $7.4 billion into Canada's economy, boost federal and provincial tax coffers by $46.7 billion and increase revenues for producers by $73.5 billion over 20 years.