Update: Alberta finance minister calls news conference on TransCanada pipeline to Maritimes

Irving Oil follows up with announcement it will build $300-million marine terminal in Saint John

By The Canadian Press and Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Journal August 1, 2013 9:36 AM

CALGARY —  Alberta Premier Alison Redford welcomed news Thursday that TransCanada Corp. will proceed with its Energy East pipeline project to transport crude oil to Canadian refineries and export terminals as far east as New Brunswick.

The proposed pipeline system will take crude from western provinces as far east as Saint John, N.B., passing through other Canadian cities including Montreal and Quebec City. The project — which still requires environmental approval — will include some existing TransCanada pipelines between Western Canada and Montreal, plus new lines to be constructed to take the crude further east.

On the heels of that announcement, Irving Oil said it plans to build a $300-million marine terminal in Saint John. The New Brunswick company says the Canaport Energy East Marine Terminal would handle the crude oil flowing from Western Canada through the pipeline and export it to world markets.In a statement, Irving Oil says it expects engineering and design work would begin in 2015 to coincide with developments of the west-to-east pipeline.

Early Thursday, Redford issued a statement saying she was “very pleased” with the TransCanada announcement. Finance Minister Doug Horner will follow up with a media availability at 11 a.m. outside Government House.

“My government made a commitment to the project as part of our efforts to build new markets and get a fairer price for the oil resources Albertans own,” Redford said in the statement. “This is truly a nation-building project that will diversify our economy and create new jobs here in Alberta and across the country.

“The partnerships we have seen develop across the country on projects like Energy East, are the clearest examples yet of the Canadian Energy Strategy in action. That’s why I’ve been pushing the strategy — to spur co-operation between the provinces in getting Canada’s energy onto international markets, to get fairer prices and in turn be able to provide the high quality of living Albertans, and Canadians, deserve. Building new markets is a key part of our government’s Building Alberta Plan.

“At last week’s Council of the Federation meeting we reached consensus on a Canadian Energy Strategy and agreed on 10 action areas for moving the strategy forward. I’m proud of what we have achieved so far and I will continue working with other premiers to build new energy export markets. All Canadians benefit from a strong energy economy, and we are stronger working together.”

TransCanada estimates the project will cost about $12 billion, excluding the value of its converted Canadian Mainline pipeline system.

The project has been backed by provincial premiers, but faces opposition from environmental and other groups.

“This is a historic opportunity to connect the oil resources of Western Canada to the consumers of Eastern Canada, creating jobs, tax revenue and energy security for all Canadians for decades to come,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and CEO.

He said it’s one answer to the question of how to move crude oil from Western Canada to refineries and consumers in other markets.

However, Girling also made a pitch for the politically sensitive Keystone XL project — a delayed TransCanada pipeline that would stretch from Alberta to Texas, if it gets the required approvals.

The Harper government has argued that Keystone XL is good for both the United States and Canada, but President Barack Obama has yet to give his go-ahead to that line, which has faced intense lobbying both for and against.

“Energy East is one solution for transporting crude oil but the industry also requires additional pipelines such as Keystone XL to transport growing supplies of Canadian and U.S. crude oil to existing North American markets,” Girling said.

“Both pipelines are required to meet the need for safe and reliable pipeline infrastructure and are underpinned with binding, long-term agreements.”

More to come…