Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta., Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The question of does Canada still need another pipeline outside of Line 3 and Trans Mountain was one federal officials asked days after United States President Joe Biden cancelled the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta., Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The question of does Canada still need another pipeline outside of Line 3 and Trans Mountain was one federal officials asked days after United States President Joe Biden cancelled the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Does Canada need another pipeline, feds ask days after Biden cancels Keystone XL

Western Canada’s oil and gas sector see cancellation as a blow to a reeling industry

Federal officials were asking themselves how many pipelines does Canada really need in the days after U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled Keystone XL.

The query was posed in a briefing note from Natural Resources Canada and released to The Canadian Press under federal access-to-information legislation.

The document, addressed to the department’s deputy minister, was prepared in anticipation of meetings with those affected by Biden’s January decision, including an Alberta government official, Keystone XL owner TC Energy and others in the industry.

Construction in Alberta had already begun on the 1,947-kilometre pipeline designed to send 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Hardisty, Alta, to Steele City, Neb., when Biden scrapped the project’s permit on his first official day in the White House.

Biden was fulfilling a campaign pledge but those in western Canada’s oil and gas sector, including its elected representatives, felt the move as a blow to an industry already reeling from job losses and economic headwinds beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the late January meetings to discuss the cancellation with stakeholders, the federal natural resources department briefing note posed some questions: “Do you believe Canada still requires additional export capacity beyond (TransMountain) and Line 3? What do you see as the likely routes to putting it in place?”

Asked that question Thursday, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister replied frankly: “I don’t know.”

“I think the market will decide that and I think investors will decide that,” Seamus O’Regan said during an announcement for hydrogen fuelling stations for heavy trucks in Alberta.

He pointed to the fact he was even talking about hydrogen as a source of transportation fuel as an example of the transformation in the energy sector. O’Regan also referred to a report from the International Energy Agency, stating that for global energy sectors to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 — which Canada has pledged to do — there should be no new oil and gas developments approved.

The minister said he doesn’t fully agree because he sees a future with emissions-reducing technologies like carbon capture and storage, and knows energy companies are making improvements on their own.

“We are singularly focused on lower emissions,” he said.

“That is what we are focused on, that is what we are working with our industry on here to make sure that they are lowering emissions to increase their competitiveness in the world marketplace.”

Whether Canada needs another pipeline remains a controversial question.

Adding to that is the reality that Ottawa, as well as major nations like United States, are setting higher targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions and pushing policies like the shift to electric vehicles in an effort to boost the fight against climate change.

Besides the now-dead Keystone XL, Canada’s other main pipeline projects are Trans Mountain and Line 3.

Last November, the Canada Energy Regulator suggested not all would be needed, if Canada keeps implementing more climate polices.

The Trudeau government paid $4.5 billion to Kinder Morgan Canada to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline to provide certainty that a planned expansion from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., would go ahead after court battles delayed construction.

Calgary-based Enbridge is also facing opposition over its nearly finished Line 3 replacement project, which carries crude oil from Alberta into Wisconsin.

Enbridge is also currently fighting in a Michigan court against state Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who wants to shut down the long operating Canada-U.S. Line 5 pipeline over environmental concerns around the Great Lakes.

Tim McMillian, CEO and president of The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers — among the stakeholders Ottawa talked to about Keystone XL’s cancellation — says for many Canadians, Line 5’s uncertainty underscores the need for a solid pipeline network that moves energy west and south, as well as east.

He believes more export capacity is needed because, over the next two decades, the International Energy Agency projects the global demand for gas will increase, as it will for oil until at least 2030 before flattening out closer to 2040.

“The global demand increase most certainly will be looking for supply. Is Canada the right place to be the supply or should we letting the other nine large (oil and gas producing countries) … be the ones that step in and offer that supply?” he said.

“I would hope that our federal government is believing that Canadian innovation, Canadian science, Canadian resources are the right answer for the future.”

—Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

RELATED: TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

RELATED: ‘Keystone is dead’: former senior Obama adviser

energy sectorKeystone XLPipeline

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

Most Read