Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday his government is not ruling out any options to get construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion back underway, including an appeal or legislative options.
“We’re looking at various options, including legislation, including appeals, and we’re looking at what we need to do to satisfy the court,” Trudeau said. “We have to move forward on a path that takes community and environmental assessments into account.” Ottawa could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has suggested, use legislation to impose temporary operating permits, or craft a new consultation and assessment process with a tight timeline.
Notley suggested an appeal but conceded that it probably wouldn’t be enough in itself, suggesting “other solutions” which “respect completely and follow everything that we need to (do) with respect to Indigenous consultation” be applied to get the project back on track. She also highlighted the need to protect the marine environment from damage that could result from the expanded pipeline for the project to move ahead, CBC News reports.
Construction was halted on the pipeline project last week after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the National Energy Board had failed to consider increased tanker traffic in its report, which informed the federal cabinet decision to issue construction permits, and that the federal government had not fulfilled its duty to consult with impacted Indigenous groups.
Suncor Energy Inc. said it would not approve any crude production expansions in the Canadian oilsands until there is more clarity on the fate of Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipelines. Planned improvements would go forward, including the opening of the Fort Hills oilsands facility on Monday and other upgrades scheduled for 2019, said the massive energy company.
Suncor warned that any further production expansions would not be approved next year or in 2020 unless the fate of the two pipelines becomes clear. A court decision reversed cabinet approval for Trans Mountain and a U.S. judge asked for a more fulsome review of Keystone XL’s proposed route after Nebraska regulators changed the pathway of the planned pipeline, the Canadian Press reports.
Energy companies along the U.S. gulf coast are scrambling to restart their operations after Tropical Storm Gordon caused the shutdown of 9 per cent of the region’s oil and gas production. The storm was forecast to become a hurricane but was downgraded from a tropical storm to a depression shortly after making landfall on the Alabama-Mississippi border.
The production slump lasted only two days, slicing a total of 315,992 barrel of crude and 500 million cubic feet of natural gas off regular production levels. “We had no impacts from the storm and operations resumed as normal this morning,” said Matt Gresham, a spokesman for the Port of New Orleans. Reuters has all the details.
On Thursday morning, Brent Crude was at US$77.62 and West Texas Intermediate was at US$68.92.