Uncertainty remains as Trans Mountain clears B.C. legal challenge: Former TransCanada CEO
It’s too soon to call an end to Canada’s regulatory uncertainty around pipelines, despite recent advancements with Keystone XL and the Trans Mountain expansion project, according to a former TC Energy Corp. chief executive officer.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty about other Supreme Court decisions,” former TC Energy (then TransCanada Corp.) CEO Hal Kvisle said of Thursday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision to deny British Columbia’s appeal for jurisdiction over the types of resources that flow through the province.
“And while this is a welcome decision, and I think it aligns with what most of us would have thought was a common sense answer and approach… many of us in the industry remain quite concerned by the attitudes and positions taken by the Supreme Court.”
Kvisle’s comments struck a more cautious tone than outspoken energy investor W. Brett Wilson, who told BNN Bloomberg on Thursday that the industry was “turning the corner.”
“There is momentum. There’s momentum in the direction of Keystone (XL). There’s momentum in the direction of Coastal (GasLink), which is the LNG pipeline, and now it looks like … there’s momentum in favour of Trans Mountain,” the Canoe Financial chairman said just an hour before the Supreme Court verdict came down.
While Wilson said there’s money to be made for investors in the oil patch right now, Kvisle said it’s too soon to assume that these decisions are going to prompt the companies themselves to start pouring money back into Canadian projects.
“I’m not seeing any enthusiastic (corporate) investment in the energy sector in Canada,” Kvisle said. “I think investors recognize that we have an access-to-market problem.”
“I appreciate it’s underway, but most of us want to see it completed,” Kvisle said of the Trans Mountain expansion project. “Then there’d be a clear signal that there would be capacity to export oil sands production to market and I think you might start to see Imperial Oil, for example, come back to the table with its Aspen project, and big players like [Canadian Natural Resources], Suncor, and Cenovus going ahead with the many projects that those companies have on the drawing board.”
“But until we see access to market resolved, that’s not going to happen.”