Federal Government to buy Trans Mountain Pipeline for $4.5 billion


The Trans Mountain project has "more certainty than ever before", Rachel Notley tweeted after the federal government announced it will buy the pipeline and all of Kinder Morgan's core Canadian assets for $4.5 billion.

The "agreement will help advance Canada as an energy leader, as a place where good projects get built", Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that buying the existing pipeline and its planned expansion project, which will carry crude oil from landlocked Alberta to a port in the Vancouver area, is the only way to ensure the halted project gets built.

"Canada will work with investors to transfer the project, and related assets, to a new owner or owners in a way that ensures that the project's construction and operation will proceed in a manner that protects the public interest", he said.

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Kinder Morgan set the deadline in part due to frustrations with delays caused by the British Columbia government, which is concerned about possible oil spills.

This expansion will increase daily capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels, while improving market access to the US Pacific Coast and Northeast Asia, according to the government, who also state that they don't intend to be the long-term owner of the project.

It's a "bittersweet moment" that the federal government was required to take out a private sector company to salvage a project, said McConaghy on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM Tuesday.

The government was immediately slammed from all sides for its stunning move.

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"This move sets a awful precedent and signals to other prospective investors that large projects such as pipelines can not be built by private industry in Canada", said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a right-leaning group that advocates for lower taxes. The company said it would decide on the pipeline project's fate on 31 May.

Dozens of people have been arrested for protesting against the project, which has been approved by the federal government.

Ottawa is pressing ahead, firmly of the opinion there is no doubt about its jurisdiction.

"We've agreed to a fair price for our shareholders and we've found a way forward for this national interest project", he told a conference call with financial analysts.

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This development comes after the Liberals offered to indemnify Kinder Morgan against financial losses stemming from efforts by the B.C. government to thwart the expansion.