Suncor CEO encouraged by Trans Mountain pipeline, less certain of Keystone XL completion

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The CEO of one of the nation’s largest energy companies has more confidence in the completion of the federal government’s Trans Mountain expansion project than in the Keystone XL pipeline, which is supported by the Government of the Alberta.That’s based on comments from Suncor Energy’s Mark Little Thursday morning in a conference call with the investment community about the plethora of pipeline developments recently, including regulatory and court rulings.

The Trans Mountain expansion project received little encouragement, which recently passed a major hurdle in court when the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal by British Columbia First Nations. .

“Trans Mountain is more beautiful than ever,” he said. “They’re talking about the end of 2022. If it’s 2022 or mid-2023, it’s okay. ”

Regarding the prospects for Keystone XL, Little seemed less optimistic.

Earlier this month, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling supported a lower court ruling that blocked a key environmental permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline – a decision that will continue to delay large parts of the pipeline. construction of the 1,947 kilometer project stretching from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast.

Asked by an analyst on the conference call to assess various pipeline projects, Little chuckled when referring to Keystone XL.

“And then Keystone XL,” he laughs. “I don’t know, it looks like it’s becoming an important part of the discussion on the political side. ”

Listen to the analyst’s question followed by Mark Little’s answer on recent pipeline developments:

The latest court ruling is just another setback for the project, which was first announced in 2008 and is being built by TC Energy Corp.

« [TC Energy is] working through these latest court rulings so it delays any construction on the other side of the waterways but I think if you’re going to talk to TC they are still working forward and working hard to make this happen, so there’s a lot of going on, ”Little says.

Some experts have said there is less than a 50 percent chance the project will actually be completed, especially given the US presidential election later this year.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington on January 24, 2017 (Kevin Lamarque / Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump has been a staunch supporter of the Keystone XL project, but his opponent, Democratic candidate Joe Biden, has said he will tear up Trump’s approval of the pipeline if he wins the White House.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney praised the project for the potential job creation in the province and the additional export capacity it would provide to oil producers.

The Government of Alberta has invested $ 1.5 billion in the Keystone XL pipeline, plus $ 6 billion in loan guarantees.

TC Energy said it would continue to build the Canadian portion of the project while leading the legal battle south of the border.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney marked the start of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in the town of Oyen earlier this month. (Flickr / Government of Alberta)

The federal government bought the Trans Mountain project in 2018 after developer Kinder Morgan said it faced too much uncertainty with the proposal.

Prior to the sale, the company had temporarily suspended work due to mounting opposition, especially from the BC government.

Suncor is committed to using both pipelines to ship oil out of Alberta.

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