Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP is asking Canadian regulators to intervene to allow it to study land in Burnaby, British Columbia, where it faces opposition to the C$5.4 billion ($5 billion) expansion of its Trans Mountain oil pipeline.
“I want to cooperate in establishing a path forward with communities” along the route, Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, said on a conference call with reporters today. “In the case of Burnaby, virtually all communication has been terminated by them and we have not had the opportunity to work through some of those issues and concerns.”
The city of Burnaby has blocked Kinder Morgan from studying lands it would cross near the western end of the expansion, saying the company must provide more information about the risk of spills and public safety. Houston-based Kinder Morgan will ask the National Energy Board to intervene on its behalf at the same time as it requests access again from the city.
Kinder Morgan wants to almost triple Trans Mountain’s capacity, to 890,000 barrels a day. The system, in operation since 1953, is the only existing crude-oil pipeline connecting Alberta’s surging oil-sands region to the Pacific Coast. Oil developers seeking ways to get their product to buyers have faced roadblocks elsewhere, as opponents fight new proposals, including the Keystone XL pipeline in the U.S.
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan didn’t immediately respond to phone messages and an e-mail seeking comment.
The National Energy Board said Tuesday that it will defer a recommendation to the Canadian government on the project by about six months, to January 2016, after Kinder proposed a change to the route in Burnaby. The board said it wants more studies of the new path, which would require tunneling or drilling under the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.
That delay will push the projected start date for the expansion from late 2017 into 2018, Kinder Chief Operating Officer Steven Kean said on conference call with analysts the following day. Prospects for the project remain good, he said: “It’s still all systems go.”
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