(Adds spokesman comment on announcement timing)
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA Nov 22 Canada will this week decide the
fate of two Enbridge Inc pipelines, but is keeping
quiet about its verdict on Kinder Morgan Inc's plans to
more than double the capacity of its Trans Mountain line, a move
strongly opposed by environmentalists.
The Liberal government is expected to veto Enbridge's
Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta's oil sands to the
province of British Columbia on the Pacific Coast. Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau opposes the project, citing the proposed
routing through a rain forest.
But Ottawa does appear set to allow Enbridge to replace the
Canadian segments of its Line 3, which takes crude from Alberta
to Wisconsin. Canada's energy regulator approved the project in
Trudeau is under pressure both from environmentalists and
the energy industry, which says it needs more pipelines to ease
transport bottlenecks in Alberta.
"Our government is on track for a decision on the proposed
Enbridge Line 3 and Northern Gateway projects by Nov 25. An
announcement ... will be made soon thereafter," said Alexandre
Deslongchamps, spokesman for Natural Energy Minister Jim Carr.
Trudeau is scheduled to leave on Wednesday for a week-long
trip to Africa.
Northern Gateway foundered amid protests from green and
aboriginal groups that are now targeting Trans Mountain. But the
plan to update Line 3, which sources say will switch from
carrying light oil to synthetic crude, attracted little
"Most people are expecting it goes forward," said AltaCorp
Capital energy infrastructure analyst Dirk Lever.
The upgrade would allow Enbridge to run Line 3 at its
maximum capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd). It is
currently shipping 390,000 bpd because of voluntary pressure
"It's not adding to capacity," said Friends of the Earth
policy adviser John Bennett. "I haven't seen any chatter about
it at all."
There is, however, much debate about Kinder Morgan's plans
to build a second pipeline next to its Trans Mountain line from
Alberta to British Columbia.
Greens say the risk of a spill is too great and opponents
promise massive protests, which some Liberals fear could hurt
the party in federal elections set for 2019. Earlier this month,
a Liberal legislator from British Columbia urged Trudeau to veto
Environmental groups say they expect Carr to approve Trans
Mountain by the Dec. 19 deadline. He said last week that Canada
needed to sell oil to Asia to diversify exports away from the
Deslongchamps said Carr was committed to a verdict by Dec.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren, editing by G Crosse)