Alberta Premier Notley: Pipelines are bigger than any province's agenda
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is urging Canadians to get on the same page when it comes to developing critical energy infrastructure. In an interview on BNN, Notley said dissenting provinces and municipalities need to stop arguing about projects that have already been approved at the highest levels, notably Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion.
“Not only the federal government, but all of Canada needs to understand that [pipeline projects are] not something that happen in isolation and we have to work together, just as our economy is a function of us all working together strategically, not in individual little provinces with individual little agendas,” she said.
Notley, who is on a five-city tour to tout the benefit of Kinder Morgan’s $7.4 billion twinning project, reiterated her view that Canada is leaving cash on the table by not expanding its export markets beyond the United States.
“We’re selling our product at a discount right now, we’re not being smart economic players,” she said. “We need to be strategic in terms of finding the best markets and the best prices for our product. We can’t do that without getting our product to tidewater.”
Canada sends all but a fraction of its oil exports to the United States, and Western Canadian Select (WCS) currently trades at about a $15 discount to the American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI).
The economics are just one piece of the puzzle in the standoff between Notley, British Columbia Premier John Horgan and Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan. The latter two have vowed to fight against the project, arguing it carries undue risk to the environment. They cite the risk of larger, more catastrophic oil spills as capacity increases to a planned 890,000 barrels per day from the current 300,000.
Notley said at a certain point, regional players should simply get out of the way of federally approved projects like the Trans Mountain twinning, given the diverse needs of a country the size of Canada.
"There’s a point at which we have to agree, ‘We’ve looked at all the facts, we’ve considered everybody’s issues, we’ve found the most effective solution for the greatest number of people and now the issue is done and now we’re moving forward,’” Notley said. “That’s the thing we have to do better as Canadians on an economic and international level.”
“Some things are bigger than [regional disputes,] and this pipeline is one of those things.”