Review of TransCanada pipeline canceled for 30 days

A Canadian energy regulator honored company's request after TransCanada said it would have to review viability amid concerns about national interest.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Sept. 11, 2017 at 7:34 AM
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Sept. 11 (UPI) -- An energy regulator in Canada announced it suspended its review of a pipeline planned for eastern Canadian markets at the request of TransCanada.

For 30 days, the National Energy Board said it would suspend its review of the Energy East project.

"During this period, the board will not issue further decisions or take further process steps relating to the review of the projects," the regulator said. "In addition, the NEB's expanded indigenous and public engagement activities will be suspended during this time period."

TransCanada submitted an application for Energy East three years ago, proposing the construction of a new 930-mile segment and converting 1,800 miles of gas line for oil service. If built, it would carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to eastern Canadian refineries.

The NEB said the suspension was in effect as of Sept. 8, the day after the request from TransCanada. The company, for its part, called for the 30-day suspension after the regulator published a lengthy list of issues ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to the risk of an oil spill that could determine whether or not the project was in the public interest.

TransCanada said review would give it time to balance the NEB's review against the viability of the Energy East project. The company said Energy East could generate billions of dollars in new tax revenue and offset regional imports of 700,000 barrels of oil per day, though critics countered it would serve primarily as an export project.

The NEB said it also extended a timeline for TransCanada to file any project updates from Sept. 15 to Oct. 27.

The company's request came one day after it extended a solicitation period to secure interest for crude oil deliveries through its Keystone and Keystone XL oil pipeline systems to the U.S. Gulf Coast in order to compensate for the impacts from Hurricane Harvey, which sidelined refinery activity in the region when it made landfall in late August.

Nearly all of Canadian oil exports go to the United States, though the government aims to tap into foreign markets with exports from western Canadian ports. The NEB in November approved Kinder Morgan's plans to triple the capacity of its west-bound Trans Mountain network to around 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

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