As the battle between British Columbia and Alberta over the completion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project continues to brew, support for the project and frustration with the government from local residents continues to grow.
It appears residents are fed up with their Premier John Horgan’s legal and regulatory attempts to stop the project that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved.
According to a new poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, the majority of residents believe their government should give in and allow the pipeline to be built if the courts rule the province does not have constitutional authority to block it.
Out of the B.C. residents surveyed, 69% feel the government should allow the pipeline project to proceed if the courts don’t rule in their favour. Alternatively, 31% believe they should stand firm in trying to block the pipeline construction.
More Canadians also appear to be losing patience with the B.C. government’s delay tactics, according to the poll released Wednesday. Two-in-three Canadians now say the B.C. government is wrong to try to block the project, up nine percentage points from polling in February.
British Columbia residents remain divided on the overall risks and benefits of the pipeline project. About 34% say the environmental risks outweigh the economic benefit while the same number (35%) say the opposite and the rest (30%) say the risks and benefits of the project are about the same.
The poll also found B.C. residents are most concerned about an oil tanker spill or accident (52%), while the overall environment/fossil fuel concerns come in at a distant second (16%) and a pipeline spill or accident is the risk they are least concerned with (14%).
The American Petroleum Institute (API) and North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) have established a Pipeline Construction Safety Training Program. This landmark program combines the best practices of both the building trades unions and the natural gas and oil industry into a safety program applicable throughout all energy infrastructure construction.
The initiative will build upon existing NABTU safety courses, which were developed by the NABTU-affiliated Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR). The first stage is a customized OSHA 10-hour construction safety class that will incorporate specific pipeline safety information developed jointly by API and NABTU.
“The program offers a way for industry and our union allies to expand the econoheremic opportunities for workers and to help ensure that industry has a skilled and committed workforce capable of building the energy infrastructure our nation needs to meet ever-growing demand,” said Jack Gerard, API president and CEO. “Safety is a shared priority with the common goal of zero incidents. The Pipeline Construction Safety Training Program is an important milestone toward that goal.”
The training is part of NABTU’s current offerings to its members – specifically apprentices and journeymen. The initial program will be available to pipeline construction personnel from the Laborers (LiUNA), the Operating Engineers (IUOE), and the United Association (UA). The course will provide industry specific training that includes fire safety, safety in confined spaces, and fall hazards. An API-U certificate – recognized industry wide as the gold standard for training in oil and gas – will be issued upon completion of the course.
“Our unions represent the safest, most talented, and highly trained skilled craft professionals the world has ever seen. NABTU members from coast to coast are committed to safely and effectively building the energy infrastructure this country needs – and this collaboration with API reinforces that objective,” said Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the oil and natural gas industry to help our members be better equipped with the necessary skills to not just attain a job, but to find a successful career in construction. We have long been focused on creating opportunities to strengthen and expand America’s middle class – this effort will lead to growth in America’s economy and energy security alike.”
The API-U certificate and future supplements to the program will be designed by a joint committee of experts from Building Trades, Oil & Gas, and Training & Apprenticeships programs.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pledging financial backing and legislation to ensure that Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion is completed, after B.C. Premier John Horgan gave no ground at a hastily called meeting in Ottawa on Sunday.
Emerging from a two-hour session on Parliament Hill, Mr. Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley made it clear that their respective governments are determined to see construction proceed this summer, despite legal and political challenges from B.C. and protests on the ground.
“The Trans Mountain expansion is a vital strategic interest to Canada − it will be built,” Mr. Trudeau said after the meeting.
The Prime Minister interrupted a 10-day foreign trip to bring together Mr. Horgan and Ms. Notley after Kinder Morgan suspended all “non-essential” spending on Trans Mountain a week ago and set a May 31 deadline to keep the project alive. In the wake of that ultimatum, both Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Notley promised financial support from their respective governments to remove the risk of continuing political battles from the shoulders of Kinder Morgan and its shareholders.
On Sunday, Mr. Horgan continued to insist that he has an obligation to protect B.C. coasts from oil spills and said his government will pursue a reference in federal court to clarify his government’s authority to regulate transportation of oil-sands bitumen through the province.
“We continue to disagree on the question of moving diluted bitumen from Alberta to the port of Vancouver,” he said.
He added, however, that he will stand down if the court rules against his government. The B.C. Premier said the tone of the meeting was cordial, noting that Mr. Trudeau assured him Ottawa would not pursue measures to punish B.C. over its pipeline position.
The Trans Mountain project pits B.C. against Alberta and other Western provinces, as well as the business community against Indigenous leaders and local political leaders in B.C.’s lower mainland.
Mr. Trudeau said on Sunday that he has instructed Finance Minister Bill Morneau to enter into talks with Kinder Morgan Inc. The Alberta government will join the negotiations.
He provided no details of what the financial support might entail, though officials have said it could be a form of political risk insurance, loan guarantees or even a direct investment. Ms. Notley says her government is also prepared to invest in the Trans Mountain project, or take it over completely if that is what is needed to keep it on track.
The Prime Minister insisted the government will protect the interest of taxpayers, even as it provides financial backing for a $7.4-billion project whose price tag could escalate dramatically.
The Liberal government will also introduce legislation soon that reasserts federal jurisdiction over the Trans Mountain project, an approach Liberal ministers had previously dismissed as irrelevant since the Constitution and courts have clearly given Ottawa pre-eminent authority over interprovincial pipelines.
After months of making reassuring statements, Ottawa was spurred into crisis mode a week ago when Kinder Morgan put forward its ultimatum.
The Houston-based company said it needed to see a “clear path” to completion, uncluttered by British Columbia’s delaying tactics and threats of regulation that would jeopardize the project’s economic viability. In addition, Kinder Morgan’s chief executive Steve Kean said the company must have financial protection for its shareholders if it is going to ramp up spending to $300-million this summer.
The promise of financial backing from Ottawa and Alberta may ease the financial risk, but the two governments offered no clear answer for Kinder Morgan’s insistence that B.C. ends its indirect threats to block the project. In addition, any court reference would take months, taking a legal resolution well beyond Kinder Morgan’s deadline.
Ms. Notley said her government and Ottawa are having “significant conversations” with Kinder Morgan to provide financial security to the project, but declined to provide details.
“I’m quite confident in the nature of the conversation we are having at this point [that we] will get the job done in terms of eliminating the uncertainty,” she said.
Pipeline opponents argue that by pledging financial support for the pipeline project, the Trudeau government is breaking a long-standing promise to reduce subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry.
Ms. Notley’s NDP government will introduce legislation on Monday that will allow it to cut the flow of crude, gasoline and diesel to B.C., a move that would drive up pump prices on the West Coast.
First Nations leaders who oppose the pipeline remained defiant Sunday in the face of Mr. Trudeau’s pledge to remove the political uncertainty that threatens to derail the project. “What he is ignoring is that we are the uncertainty,” said Will George, who is leading the effort to blockade Kinder Morgan’s terminal. “We will not be bought and we will block this pipeline.”
Mr. Trudeau insisted on Sunday that his government had carried out an unprecedented amount of consultation with First Nations prior to approving the project in November 2016, and noted that 43 Indigenous communities have signed benefit packages with Kinder Morgan, including 33 in B.C.
Meanwhile, pipeline protesters who have been arrested for civil contempt at the company’s Burnaby Mountain facilities will learn on Monday if they will face criminal prosecution. More than 170 people have been arrested since mid-March, including federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
Mr. Trudeau’s pledge to introduce legislation asserting federal authority in approving pipelines could also create a backlash in Quebec, where politicians insist the provinces must play a key role in approving major energy projects that could pose environmental risks.
Recent comments by federal officials evoking the Canadian government’s exclusive authority over the Trans Mountain project raise concerns for the future, Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec minister responsible for Canadian relations, wrote in LaPresse on the weekend.
“They encourage [project] promoters to ignore provincial environmental regulations enacted in the name of citizens,” He called for the Canadian government to practice a “co-operative federalism” and work with provinces on such major proposals.
CLARKSBURG — The Federal Regulatory Commission issued a partial notice to proceed with aspects of construction for Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline Thursday.
The notice gives Dominion permission to commence “full construction” in areas of Upshur County and Halifax County, North Carolina.
The approval will allow the company to begin constructing contractor yards along the areas where the pipeline itself will be constructed, according to Aaron Ruby, a Dominion spokesman.
“These are the areas along the right of way where we’re going to store our materials, our equipment. It’s where the work crews convene every morning before they go out to the worksite,” Ruby said. “So this is an important step forward for the project.”
The FERC notice is the most recent green light the project has received, Ruby said.“Over the several months now we’ve been receiving a series of incremental approvals to begin work on different pre-construction and construction activities from FERC,” he said.“This is another incremental approval in that process that is ultimately going to lead to the beginning of full construction on the entire project later this spring.”Robert Hinton, executive director of the Upshur County Development Authority, said his community has been anticipating the start of local construction for several years.“We’ve been watching it for a while,” he said. “Meetings have been going on since 2013 or 2014, so we’re excited.”The pipeline and related construction should bring an infusion of money, jobs and opportunity into Upshur County, Hinton said.“I’ve heard from a lot of oil and gas property owners who are going to benefit from the construction,” he said. “Obviously, the construction jobs that are going to come in are going to give a boost to the economy.”The pipeline will cross more than 600 miles between Harrison County and Greensville County, Virginia, to transport natural gas produced in West Virginia to energy users in Virginia and North Carolina.According to information on the project’s website, the pipeline is estimated to generate 17,240 jobs across West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina and bring more than $2.7 billion in total economic activity.Approximately 7,200 construction workers will be needed in 2018 and 5,600 in 2019 as the construction hits its peak.The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is one of two major pipeline projects underway in West Virginia.The Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project of EQT and several other partners, will span more than 300 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The pipeline will be used to supply natural gas from Marcellus and Utica Shale production to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic.According to information on the project’s website, the pipeline will traverse 11 West Virginia counties.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline announced plans Wednesday to extend the project currently proposed to carry natural gas through West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.
Photo courtesy of Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC.
Anews releaseWednesday laid out plans for an extension called MVP Southgate. The new segment would receive gas from the Mountain Valley Pipeline mainline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and extend approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) south to new delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina.
PSNC Energy, a natural gas service company, has already signed up for capacity on the Southgate project, and additional customers will also have the chance to subscribe, according to the news release.
PSNC president and chief operating officer, Rusty Harris, said in a statement that its customers benefit from the company having supply diversity.
“This project will help ensure low costs for customers and enhance service reliability,” he said in a statement.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline has secured the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The extension will also require approval from that body.
The extension’s targeted in-service date is the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the news release.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a joint venture of a number of energy companies: EQT Midstream Partners; NextEra US Gas Assets; Con Edison Transmission; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream. EQT would be the operator of MVP Southgate.
Another large, high-pressure natural gas pipeline is also under construction in the same three states. Tree-clearing is underway for the approximately 600-mile (965-kilometer) Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is being developed by Dominion Energy, Duke Energy and Southern Company.
TORONTO (AP) — Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that would nearly triple the flow of oil from Canada’s oil sands to the Pacific Coast was in doubt Sunday after the company announced a suspension in all non-essential activities and related spending on the project.
The company said its decision was based on the British Columbia government’s opposition to the project, which has also been the focus of sustained protests at Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby, British Columbia.Kinder Morgan said it would consult with “various stakeholders” to try to reach an agreement by May 31 that might allow the project to proceed.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted the project should be completed despite the angry protests and the British Columbia government’s continued battle against it in the courts. The federal government urged British Columbia on Sunday to stop delaying the pipeline project.The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Canadian division of Texas-based Kinder Morgan would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers traveling the shared waters between Canada and Washington state. Trudeau approved the project in late 2016, saying it was in Canada’s best interest.Kinder Morgan said it was caught in a tough spot.“We have determined that in the current environment, we will not put KML shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend,” Steve Kean, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “A company cannot resolve differences between governments. While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in-service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments.”Kean said the uncertainty around the company’s ability to finish the project “leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control.”The project has drawn legal challenges and opposition from environmental groups and Native American tribes as well as from municipalities such as Vancouver and Burnaby. It’s also sparked a dispute between the provinces of Alberta, which has the world’s third largest oil reserves, and British Columbia. About 200 people have been arrested near Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby during recent protests.Trudeau said in a tweet that Canada is a country of “the rule of law” and “access to the world markets for Canadian resources is a core national interest. This Trans Mountain expansion will be built.”His administration called on British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s leftist government to end all threats of delay to the expansion. “His government’s actions stand to harm the entire Canadian economy,” Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr said in a statement.The premier of oil-rich Alberta, Rachel Notley, urged the federal government to intervene. “A federal approval of a project must be worth more than the paper it’s written on,” Notley said.Opponents say increasing the flow of oil sent by pipeline and boosting the number of ships to transport it would increase the risks of oil spills and potential harm to fish, orcas and other wildlife.Supporters say the expansion of the pipeline, which has operated since 1953, would give Canada access to new global markets, provide jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefits and could be done responsibly.Canada needs infrastructure to export its growing oil sands production. Alberta is the United States’ largest supplier of foreign oil.Trudeau’s government has been trying to balance the oil industry’s desire to tap new markets with environmentalists’ concerns. Though he approved Trans Mountain, he rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat
The following is a statement by Dominion Energy spokesperson Aaron Ruby regarding the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s approval of the state’s erosion and sediment control permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: “The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved the state’s erosion and sediment control permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This is a very significant milestone for the project and one of only a few remaining approvals needed to begin construction. This brings West Virginia one step closer to the thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity the project will bring to communities across the state.
We commend the agency’s staff for the years of hard work and careful study they’ve dedicated to reviewing the project. For more than three years, the agency carefully reviewed the project and considered extensive public input. The agency followed a rigorous process and left no stone unturned. The agency’s approval includes numerous conditions to strengthen protections for water quality and other natural resources. At every stage of the project we’ve taken great care to meet the highest water quality standards. In many cases, we’ve gone above and beyond regulatory requirements and adopted some of the most protective measures ever used by the industry. This should assure all West Virginians that the pipeline will be built safely and in a way that protects the state’s water quality. With federal authorization, upland tree felling and vegetation clearing has been underway in West Virginia for several days and will continue through the end of March. Once we receive a few remaining approvals from other state and federal agencies, we’ll take the final step of requesting a Notice to Proceed with full construction from FERC. We expect to receive these remaining approvals in time to begin full construction activity by the early spring.”The following is a statement by Dominion Energy spokesperson Aaron Ruby regarding the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s approval of the state’s erosion and sediment control permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: “The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has approved the state’s erosion and sediment control permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. This is a very significant milestone for the project and one of only a few remaining approvals needed to begin construction. This brings West Virginia one step closer to the thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity the project will bring to communities across the state. We commend the agency’s staff for the years of hard work and careful study they’ve dedicated to reviewing the project. For more than three years, the agency carefully reviewed the project and considered extensive public input. The agency followed a rigorous process and left no stone unturned. The agency’s approval includes numerous conditions to strengthen protections for water quality and other natural resources. At every stage of the project we’ve taken great care to meet the highest water quality standards. In many cases, we’ve gone above and beyond regulatory requirements and adopted some of the most protective measures ever used by the industry. This should assure all West Virginians that the pipeline will be built safely and in a way that protects the state’s water quality. With federal authorization, upland tree felling and vegetation clearing has been underway in West Virginia for several days and will continue through the end of March. Once we receive a few remaining approvals from other state and federal agencies, we’ll take the final step of requesting a Notice to Proceed with full construction from FERC. We expect to receive these remaining approvals in time to begin full construction activity by the early spring.” Job Search by
TransCanada recently released a notice to all 3rd-party inspection companies that they do business with to push for 100% certification compliance with the API 1169. Here is an excerpt from the letter:
This notification serves as a reminder that TransCanada is working closely with all approved suppliers to ensure that we collectively reach the goal of 100% API 1169 Certification compliance by Jan 1, 2019. As of Q3 2017, all TransCanada CORE Construction Managers have obtained their API 1169 certification.
Effective immediately, the afore-mentioned API 1169 Certification items will strongly be considered when making project resourcing decisions which includes hire and release determinations.