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Canada finance minister defends Trans Mountain purchase

01 June 2018
Canada finance minister defends Trans Mountain purchase

The survey was conducted from May 25-28, concluding one day before the federal government announced it's paying Kinder Morgan Canada $4.5 billion for the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and its related assets.

Despite protests that have surrounded the plans for project expansion, the Canadian government has encouraged the development of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would mirror the existing path from Alberta to British Colombia and would increase the capacity of the pipeline from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day.

Kinder Morgan's May 31 deadline to decide if it has enough certainty to proceed is now just 72 hours away and while Trudeau says financial discussions continue, he also says there is nothing yet to say publicly. The almost tripled volume of oil carried by the pipeline and the increase of ships needed to transport the crude oil at the Pacific will also heighten the threat to fish, orca whales, and other wildlife intrinsic to local people's livelihood.

The government is also lobbying hard in the United States this week since President Donald Trump only exempted Canada and Mexico from steel import tariffs until Friday.

The deal is expected to close by mid-November. Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reassured reporters the Trans Mountain pipeline project will go ahead.

But he said the association is "deeply concerned" that the government felt it had to purchase the project to get it built.

"The commercial viability of this project was very much in doubt in the private sector's eye, and that's unfortunately why we are now investors".

Kinder Morgan Canada, whose stock trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the KML ticker, saw its share price spike to $18 Tuesday morning after being halted ahead of the announcement of Canada's offer to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project. Despite its constitutional authority over the interprovincial pipeline, the federal government brushed off the impasse as a sibling spat between B.C. and Alberta - ignoring or failing to recognize that by stalling Trans Mountain, B.C. Premier John Horgan was thumbing his nose not at Alberta, but Ottawa.

It expects after-tax proceeds for the approximately 30 per cent of Kinder Morgan Canada not owned by its Houston-based parent company to be about $1.25 billion.

Carr said "conversations will happen relatively" soon toward a resale.

Analysts were less than enthusiastic about the sale.

The poll shows that 49% of British Columbians say they're "less likely" to vote for the federal Liberals in the next election. The goal is to have a new buyer in place for the vote, and to potentially turn a profit, they said. Transport limitations have been blamed for higher price discounts on western Canadian oilsands bitumen blend crude in the first quarter.

However, GMP FirstEnergy said the buyout was negative for future Canadian investment prospects.

Given the amount of money involved, Stetski said there were a number of other spending priorities the federal government should be focused on.