TransCanada won't move forward with Energy East pipeline

Friday, 06 Oct, 2017

The company TransCanada announced today that it will abandon its plans to build the Energy East and Eastern Mainline pipelines, controversial projects due to their possible environmental damages.

The company said in a statement that "after a careful review of change circumstances", it would tell Canadian energy regulators and those in Quebec it was no longer pursuing the project.

"TransCanada was forced to make the difficult decision to abandon its project, following years of hard work and millions of dollars in investment", the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, an industry group, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

In early September, TransCanada asked for a 30-day suspension of its application for the Energy East project.

Energy East was conceived as a way to ship Alberta oilsands production as far east as Saint John's, New Brunswick. October 5, 2017 amidst an unprecedented announcement from the National Energy Board that it would include upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emissions in its review of the pipeline.

Canada's Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the cancellation was a business decision by TransCanada given oil market conditions had changed since the pipeline was first proposed. After President Donald Trump made headlines for reversing the Obama administration's decision not to permit the Keystone XL pipeline, the company suggested in July that it might not even go through with the project, which would bring tar sands oil south from Alberta through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

TransCanada Corp abandoned construction of its Energy East pipeline on Thursday, taking a C$1 billion ($798 million) non-cash charge and handing environmental groups a major victory in efforts to hamper Canadian oil development.

But the company in recent years has dealt with a fall in the price of crude oil, which is now hovering around $50 a barrel, down from almost $100 a barrel in mid-2014.

Proponents said it presented an opportunity to wean Canada off foreign oil as refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick rely mostly on imports.

As Energy East supporters lamented the loss of jobs and revenue, Indigenous opponents, environmental activists and a number of Quebec politicians celebrated. You know, this thing about using the upstream emissions as part of the decision was always illogical, because that's dealt with by a whole different regulatory body.

"We look forward to seeing that certainty in place soon", she said. The project was created to facilitate massive, long-lived expansion of Canada's oil production at a time when science shows we must cut carbon pollution rapidly.

"Our government would have used the same process to evaluate the Energy East Pipeline project that saw the Trans Mountain expansion and Line 3 projects approved".

"While we recognize the current market challenges related to lower commodity prices, we are seeing signs of growth in the sector". Energy East is just the latest in a growing list of projects that will never see the light of day.

May 13, 2015: More than 60 organizations call on the National Energy Board to suspend TransCanada's application for the Energy East Pipeline.