Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kinder Morgan Canada's Pipeline Woes Hurting Investment in Canada: Observers

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kinder Morgan Canada's Pipeline Woes Hurting Investment in Canada: Observers

Article excerpt

Pipeline issues hurting investment: observers

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CALGARY - The suspension of work on Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd.'s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will have a "chilling" effect on overall investment in Canada, industry observers say.

The company's decision Sunday to impose a May 31 deadline for government reassurance that it can safely spend the bulk of the project's $7.4-billion construction cost comes after two other projects were ended last year -- TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Energy East pipeline and Enbridge Inc.'s previously approved Northern Gateway.

"We have become a high-political-risk jurisdiction because of the apparent ambivalence of government resolve to develop our resources. And we are a resource economy," said Bob Skinner, executive fellow at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, on Monday.

He said Kinder Morgan and other megaproject developers are being prudent and acting in the shareholders' interest when they halt the investment of billions of dollars in projects when they "have no idea" if it will be allowed to proceed to completion.

In a statement on Sunday, CEO Alex Pourbaix of Trans Mountain shipper Cenovus Energy Inc. warned there will be a "chilling effect on investment ... across the entire country" if the project fails.

The potential halt of such energy projects does affect the Canadian economy as a whole, agreed CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal.

"Energy investment is a very important part of total investment in Canada especially when it comes to rate of growth. To the extent that we see some uncertainty there, it can have a macro impact," he said.

The Trans Mountain expansion to add 590,000 bpd to its current 300,000 bpd capacity is needed to show Canada is a good place to do business, said a spokeswoman for Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., which has a contract to ship 75,000 barrels per day on the new pipeline.

"The government of Canada approved the Trans Mountain expansion project based on strong scientific evidence and deemed the project in the national interest following the completion of extensive and comprehensive environmental, stakeholder and regulatory reviews," said Julie Woo in an email. …

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