Monday message from Kinder Morgan: you have until May 31
Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean delivered a blunt message during a press conference this morning: give us assurances that the pipeline will be built or everything stops May 31.
“We need clarity that we can successfully construct in British Columbia. We cannot go forward without this,” said Kean during the press conference. “It is the correct and appropriate economic decision for the shareholders. The need for certainty becomes acute at this stage. We’re at a decision point, and this is a difficult moment for everyone. But it is much better for us to make this decision now than for us to announce a year from now and after spending billions and billions of dollars.”
Kinder Morgan is open to discussing an investment in its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Alberta government if there’s clear assurance that the project can actually be completed, added Kean, speaking to the suggestion from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley that the province could invest in the project to ensure completion after the company announced it has suspended all non-essential activities and related spending on the pipeline expansion to carry Alberta bitumen from the oil sands to an export terminal near Vancouver.
But there needs to be a clear political signal that there won’t be additional delays to the project, Kean stressed.
“There have been some discussions. I’m not really in a position where we can talk about those specifically… Let’s be clear on that,” Kean said. “We’ve been advancing this project for over five years now, and we still don’t have the clarity we need.
“A province (referring to B.C.) can take actions to frustrate a project,” continued Kean. “We don’t have the power to control this, but we can’t build a project in the court house. We do however have the power not to put additional shareholder resources at risk.”
It is estimated that the project will cost $200 – $300 million per month during construction.
Ottawa and Alberta are pushing Premier John Horgan to abandon his promise to do whatever his government can to stop the project.
Horgan is pursuing a reference case in the courts to determine if his government can control the shipment of oil through the province on environmental grounds. There is also another legal challenge in the Federal Court of Appeal, where the federal government’s approval and B.C.’s environmental assessment certificate for the project are being challenged.
“What we have is a government that is openly in opposition (to the project) and has re-affirmed that opposition very recently,” said Kean. “It’s outside of our control. It needs to come either at the federal level or at the provincial level.”