Alberta buys stake in Keystone XL
Keystone XL could very well have faced a similar fate as the Energy East pipeline, based on comments by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney on BNN Bloomberg Thursday.
"The truth is this: Keystone XL would not be built if we did not step up to the plate," Kenney said in an interview with Amanda Lang, noting he's at the helm of a "free market government [that's] not normally inclined to intervene."
TC Energy Corp. announced Tuesday it was giving a long-awaited green light to the controversial cross-border Keystone XL pipeline after stumbling through years of political, regulatory and judicial hurdles in the United States. The 1,947-kilometre pipeline would have a daily capacity of as much as 830,000 barrels of oil to be shipped from Hardisty, Alta. to Nebraska, before heading to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It's one of three pipelines, alongside Enbridge Inc.'s Line 3 and the now-federally-owned Trans Mountain expansion, that oil patch advocates view as crucial to the future of Canada's energy industry and economy.
TC, which has been battling for years to keep Keystone XL alive, is going ahead with the cross-border conduit with a big helping hand from the Alberta government. The company had previously thrown in the towel on the Energy East pipeline from Alberta to Canada's east coast after regulatory setbacks in this country.
The province is investing $1.5 billion for an equity stake in the pipeline and it's also backstopping a US$4.2-billion credit facility that will help fund the project.
"I don't think it's a gamble, but there is risk in any action," Kenney said when asked about putting taxpayers' money on the line. He said the pipeline, once up and running, could generate $30 billion in royalties for the province, arguing "this deal will ultimately pay off for Alberta."
TC Energy did not immediately respond to BNN Bloomberg’s request for comment late Thursday.
In the face of what he described as a "catastrophic" crash in energy prices, Kenney made it clear that part of his strategy is based on playing offence.
"What I've come to the conclusion of is this: We have state-owned oil enterprises around the world, mainly in OPEC -- in Russia, they're state-backed for sure -- and they're trying to drive us out of business with this predatory dumping on global markets. We can't leave our industry to sink or swim by itself."