New Brunswick premier working to bring Energy East pipeline back from the dead
FREDERICTON -- The premier of New Brunswick says he believes he can convince Quebec's skeptical premier of the benefits of reviving the Energy East pipeline project.
Blaine Higgs, along with a number of premiers and federal politicians, are pressing for a restart of the $16 billion Energy East pipeline project to get oil from Alberta to refineries in Eastern Canada and to an export terminal in Saint John, N.B.
The pipeline would have to pass through Quebec, but Premier Francois Legault has signalled he's not interested.
Higgs says he's hoping to convince Legault that Energy East would benefit all provinces including Quebec when the two men are face-to-face this week at a first ministers' meeting in Montreal.
The premier told BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday that getting Energy East built is a matter of "national unity."
"Surely the answer's not transporting all this oil through [continually] on rail cars," Higgs told BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday. "And surely it's not stranding our natural resources in a province that has funded projects [with] transfer payments across our country for decades."
"We have to - in a sense of national unity and national pride - we have to reflect the issues that each province has and try to find a way to move forward."
Alberta is cutting production and buying rail cars in an effort to address slumping prices for its oil.
Higgs says he's worried the level of transfer payments to provinces like his could be at risk if Alberta's oil revenues aren't addressed, and he believes a pipeline to move western crude to Eastern Canada and foreign markets could be the solution.
TransCanada, the original proponent of the pipeline, has stated it has no plans to revisit the project.
Higgs suggests that a holding company be formed to start the application process to the National Energy Board, and that TransCanada or another company could become interested then.
- with files from BNN Bloomberg