Alberta moves toward limiting energy to BC

The government of Alberta is moving toward restriction of energy movement to British Columbia in an escalating interprovincial conflict over expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline system.

The government of Alberta is moving toward restriction of energy movement to British Columbia in an escalating interprovincial conflict over expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline system.

Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. this month suspended nonessential activities and spending on the project, citing the BC-Alberta dispute (OGJ Online, Apr. 9, 2018). The expansion would nearly triple the system’s capacity to carry oil to Burnaby, BC, to 890,000 b/d and relieve a transport bottleneck costly to Alberta.

Although the expansion has approval of the federal government, BC Premier John Horgan, the New Democrat leader governing in coalition with the Green Party, has pledged to block it.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, also a New Democrat, has intensified her opposition to Horgan’s position and appealed to the federal government to intervene.

On Apr. 17, Notley’s government proposed legislation that would empower the provincial energy minister to decide if a company needed an export license to ship oil or gas outside Alberta.

Under each license, the minister would specify maximum quantities, shipment method, and license period. The minister also would be able to direct an operator to cease shipments.

“The powers in this legislation are not powers that Alberta wants to use, but we will do so if it means long-term benefit for the industry, for Alberta, and for Canada,” said Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd, according to press reports.

Notley said the province is considering restricting shipments of oil products to BC and allowing only diluted bitumen to flow.

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