Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Alberta rejects request to help fund Trans Mountain project

A Kinder-Morgan employee makes his way past various pipes including crude oil pipeline leading from Alberta at the Kinder Morgan Westridge marine terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia, Sunday, July 8, 2012.

Rafal Gerszak For The Globe and Mail

The company behind a proposed pipeline expansion that would carry oil sands bitumen to British Columbia's Lower Mainland asked the Alberta government to help finance the project – a request that was rebuffed this week.

Kinder Morgan Inc. made the request last year in "high-level" talks with the province about its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, a provincial spokesman confirmed to The Globe and Mail. Alberta Energy Minister Diana McQueen this week told Kinder Morgan the province would not be backing the project.

"We are not moving forward with any financial arrangements with Kinder Morgan," Ms. McQueen's spokesman, Mike Feenstra, said in an e-mail, confirming "ideas were shared with the Alberta Government by Kinder Morgan about project financing options" in talks last year.

Story continues below advertisement

Lisa Clement, a spokeswoman for Kinder Morgan, said Wednesday and Thursday the company was not able to comment on the request to the provincial government, including whether the project is viable without government funding and how much money the company sought.

Alberta has been aggressively pressing for the approval of new or expanded pipelines, including Trans Mountain, Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway and TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL, and has in the past subsidized other energy sector projects – in particular, a bitumen upgrader being built outside Edmonton.

In this case, Premier Alison Redford's government – which this week tabled its budget – balked at co-financing a project at a time when the province is borrowing billions and as pipelines are under immense regulatory and public scrutiny.

The talks between the province and Kinder Morgan didn't progress far enough for Kinder Morgan to specify what kind of financial support it was seeking, he added.

Through its "Bitumen Royalty in Kind" program, or BRIK, the Alberta government has supported the Sturgeon Refinery project, a bitumen upgrader that's under construction. Costs for the project have ballooned – to $8.5-billion – leading the province to step in with a $300-million loan in December of last year.

A spokesman for TransCanada said the company has never sought any form of financing from the province for Keystone XL, though government officials have regularly travelled to Washington to lobby for the project's approval. An Enbridge spokesman said the company also had not sought financial support from Alberta.

Kinder Morgan applied in December to the National Energy Board (NEB) to expand its existing Trans Mountain line, a 1,150-kilometre route between the Edmonton area and Burnaby, B.C. The $5.4-billion expansion would increase the pipeline's capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. If approved, the twinned pipeline would carry both light and heavy oil, including diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands.

Story continues below advertisement

The project faces opposition from environmental groups and First Nations leaders, while the mayors of Burnaby and Vancouver both oppose the project.

An estimated 2,300 people have applied to speak at NEB hearings on the proposed expansion, including more than 40 First Nations groups.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Josh is a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa. Before moving to the nation's capital in 2013, he covered provincial affairs in Edmonton and throughout Alberta. He joined the Globe in 2008 in Toronto before returning to his home province in 2010. More

Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.