TORONTO (AP) — Pipeline company TransCanada said Thursday it’s cancelling a plan to pipe 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from Western Canada to the Atlantic coast.
TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said in a statement that “after careful review of changed circumstances, we will be informing the National Energy Board” it won’t go ahead. He didn’t specify reasons but Alberta’s oil sands growth has slowed with the decline in the price of oil and there was environmental opposition in Quebec.
Girling had previously called the pipeline a historic opportunity to connect the oil resources of Canada’s west to eastern consumers. He’d noted the oil could be shipped to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, Asia and Europe.
Supporters said the pipeline was necessary to decrease reliance on the U.S., which takes 97 percent of Canada’s energy exports. Alberta has the world’s third largest oil reserves, with 170 billion barrels of proven reserves.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who has opposed the pipeline on environmental grounds, said he was thrilled to see it abandoned.
When TransCanada first announced the project in in 2013 oil prices were neared a $100 a barrel, but are now about half that.
Conservative opposition deputy leader Lisa Raitt called it a terrible day for Canada and blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for not championing the nation-building project and the nation’s energy sector. “Everything Justin Trudeau touches becomes a nightmare,” Raitt said.
Last year, Trudeau approved one controversial pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast, but rejected another. Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, British Columbia, but rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, British Columbia. His government has been trying to balance the oil industry’s desire to tap new markets with environmentalists’ concerns.
Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr called the TransCanada’s decision to end Energy East pipeline a business decision.
“Conditions have changed,” Carr said. “Commodity prices are not what they were then.”
Energy East would have run from Hardisty, Alberta, to Saint John, New Brunswick, and would have been most expensive project in TransCanada’s history.
Carr noted TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline to Texas Gulf Coast refineries awaits some final approvals in the United States.