Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta., Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The question of does Canada still need another pipeline outside of Line 3 and Trans Mountain was one federal officials asked days after United States President Joe Biden cancelled the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta., Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The question of does Canada still need another pipeline outside of Line 3 and Trans Mountain was one federal officials asked days after United States President Joe Biden cancelled the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Does Canada need another pipeline, feds ask days after Biden cancels Keystone XL

Western Canada’s oil and gas sector see cancellation as a blow to a reeling industry

Federal officials were asking themselves how many pipelines does Canada really need in the days after U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled Keystone XL.

The query was posed in a briefing note from Natural Resources Canada and released to The Canadian Press under federal access-to-information legislation.

The document, addressed to the department’s deputy minister, was prepared in anticipation of meetings with those affected by Biden’s January decision, including an Alberta government official, Keystone XL owner TC Energy and others in the industry.

Construction in Alberta had already begun on the 1,947-kilometre pipeline designed to send 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Hardisty, Alta, to Steele City, Neb., when Biden scrapped the project’s permit on his first official day in the White House.

Biden was fulfilling a campaign pledge but those in western Canada’s oil and gas sector, including its elected representatives, felt the move as a blow to an industry already reeling from job losses and economic headwinds beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the late January meetings to discuss the cancellation with stakeholders, the federal natural resources department briefing note posed some questions: “Do you believe Canada still requires additional export capacity beyond (TransMountain) and Line 3? What do you see as the likely routes to putting it in place?”

Asked that question Thursday, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister replied frankly: “I don’t know.”

“I think the market will decide that and I think investors will decide that,” Seamus O’Regan said during an announcement for hydrogen fuelling stations for heavy trucks in Alberta.

He pointed to the fact he was even talking about hydrogen as a source of transportation fuel as an example of the transformation in the energy sector. O’Regan also referred to a report from the International Energy Agency, stating that for global energy sectors to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 — which Canada has pledged to do — there should be no new oil and gas developments approved.

The minister said he doesn’t fully agree because he sees a future with emissions-reducing technologies like carbon capture and storage, and knows energy companies are making improvements on their own.

“We are singularly focused on lower emissions,” he said.

“That is what we are focused on, that is what we are working with our industry on here to make sure that they are lowering emissions to increase their competitiveness in the world marketplace.”

Whether Canada needs another pipeline remains a controversial question.

Adding to that is the reality that Ottawa, as well as major nations like United States, are setting higher targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions and pushing policies like the shift to electric vehicles in an effort to boost the fight against climate change.

Besides the now-dead Keystone XL, Canada’s other main pipeline projects are Trans Mountain and Line 3.

Last November, the Canada Energy Regulator suggested not all would be needed, if Canada keeps implementing more climate polices.

The Trudeau government paid $4.5 billion to Kinder Morgan Canada to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline to provide certainty that a planned expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., would go ahead after court battles delayed construction.

Calgary-based Enbridge is also facing opposition over its nearly finished Line 3 replacement project, which carries crude oil from Alberta into Wisconsin.

Enbridge is also currently fighting in a Michigan court against state Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who wants to shut down the long operating Canada-U.S. Line 5 pipeline over environmental concerns around the Great Lakes.

Tim McMillian, CEO and president of The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers — among the stakeholders Ottawa talked to about Keystone XL’s cancellation — says for many Canadians, Line 5’s uncertainty underscores the need for a solid pipeline network that moves energy west and south, as well as east.

He believes more export capacity is needed because, over the next two decades, the International Energy Agency projects the global demand for gas will increase, as it will for oil until at least 2030 before flattening out closer to 2040.

“The global demand increase most certainly will be looking for supply. Is Canada the right place to be the supply or should we letting the other nine large (oil and gas producing countries) … be the ones that step in and offer that supply?” he said.

“I would hope that our federal government is believing that Canadian innovation, Canadian science, Canadian resources are the right answer for the future.”

—Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

RELATED: TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

RELATED: ‘Keystone is dead’: former senior Obama adviser

energy sectorKeystone XLPipeline

Just Posted

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read