BC proposes to restrict bitumen transport

Provincial opposition to expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in British Columbia has taken an official step with a proposal to restrict transport of diluted bitumen.

Provincial opposition to expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in British Columbia has taken an official step with a proposal to restrict transport of diluted bitumen.

BC’s governing coalition of the New Democratic Party and Green Party said it will create an independent study panel to “help address the scientific uncertainties” outlined in a report on environmental effects of crude oil spilled into water.

“In order to protect BC’s environmental and economic interests while the advisory panel is proceeding, the province is proposing regulatory restrictions on the increase of diluted- bitumen transportation,” said a government backgrounder. It said it will provide an overview of the regulations before the end of February.

Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. has approval from the National Energy Board for a $7.4 billion expansion of the Trans Mountain crude oil system. The NDP-Green coalition declared its opposition to the project when it took power with a one-seat majority last June after the former Liberal government lost a vote of confidence (OGJ Online, June 30, 2017).

Officials of Alberta’s NDP government said their neighbor’s proposal will create a constitutional crisis because the federal government has jurisdiction over interprovincial transport.

Construction has begun on 600 miles of pipeline and reactivation of 120 miles of existing line parallel to the existing Trans Mountain system between Edmonton, Alta., and Burnaby, BC.

The expansion will nearly triple Trans Mountain capacity to 890,000 b/d, relieving transport congestion that now suppresses the value of bitumen produced in the Albertan oil sands.

The NEB approved the Trans Mountain expansion along with Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement, which will add capacity between Alberta and the US, in November 2016 while rejecting Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline between Alberta and the northern BC coast (OGJ Online, Nov. 30, 2016).

The federal government is expected soon to announce reform of environmental and regulatory reviews of major energy projects.

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