Alberta to restrict oil, gas to neighbour in Canada pipeline row

Tuesday, 17 Apr, 2018

The Alberta government has introduced legislation that would give the energy minister power to restrict the flow of oil, gasoline and natural gas leaving the province. Earlier this year, Alberta briefly imposed a ban on B.C. wines, but put the illegal sanction on ice after Premier John Horgan announced he'd take their dispute to the court.

Limiting exports could create shortages in B.C., forcing it to look elsewhere for gasoline.

The new bill would give the Alberta government authority to require that companies exporting energy products from Alberta to get a licence - including for natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

Export licences would be required for every company but only if the energy minister determines it's in the public interest to ensure: adequate pipeline capacity is available to maximize the return on resources, supply is maintained for Alberta's needs now and into the future.

The government says companies that do not comply with the licence terms could see fines of up to $10 million per day, $1 million per day for individuals. The issue of compensation for energy, pipeline or other companies who could lose revenues as a result of the legislation is not addressed in the bill, provincial officials said Monday.

"We can not and we will not let that stand", she said. "The powers in this legislation are not powers Alberta wants to use, but we will do so if it means long-term benefit for the industry, for Alberta and for Canada".

"Now, assuming no controls were immediately imposed... the wholesale price of gasoline would rise about 45 cents a litre".

The two westernmost provinces have been at loggerheads for weeks over the proposed tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline's capacity to move 890,000 barrels of oil per day from landlocked Alberta's oil sands to the Pacific coast, for shipping to new overseas markets.

The premier's office said about 80,000 barrels of refined fuels go to B.C. each day, transferred by pipeline, vehicle and train. Ms. Notley said it's about getting the best price for Alberta's bitumen and refined products, but is also about sending a message to British Columbia which opposes the $7.4 billion expansion project.

One week ago, Kinder Morgan announced it was stopping all non-essential spending due to continued actions from those against the twinning of the pipeline.

The measure passed first reading in the legislature.

"The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is of vital strategic interest to Canada", Trudeau told reporters after the meeting.

"We continue to regard the calculus as fraught, and believe the failure to resolve legal challenges make the actual construction of (the Trans Mountain expansion) hard - even with federal government intervention", Credit Suisse analysts said in a research note on Monday.

Notley called the meeting "good progress".

But she said her province is rapidly running out of pipeline space to ship its heavy oil.

Opposition "resolute" in B.C.

At a news conference, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said, "We confirm that our opposition is resolute, and we fully intend to stop this massively destructive pipeline from being built".

"Bailing out Kinder Morgan so they can trample Indigenous Title and Rights makes a mockery of the Canadian pledge to respect the rights of Indigenous people", Chamberlin said.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said he expected civil disobedience against the pipeline to continue to grow. "We've said all along there would be no surprises for our energy sector, and we've engaged with them throughout this process".