Trans Mountain 'unlikely to need' Canada Infrastructure Bank funding: CIB CEO
The Canada Infrastructure Bank doesn’t expect to be making an investment into the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the bank’s chief executive officer said Tuesday.
“We fully expect, given the dynamics in the industry, we expect that when the federal government is ready to sell the asset, that there will be plenty of private interest for it,” said Pierre Lavallée in an interview with BNN Bloomberg when asked if he foresees the bank playing a role in the project’s completion.
“And, frankly, [there’s] unlikely to be a need for the CIB to play a role at that stage in the life of the asset.”
The federal government purchased the pipeline expansion project from Kinder Morgan Canada in late May for $4.5 billion, just prior to a company-imposed deadline to remove the political uncertainty surrounding the project.
In August, the Canadian government’s plan to build the pipeline suffered a serious blow when the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the regulatory review of the pipeline expansion was “impermissibly flawed” because it excluded project-related tanker traffic.
However, Ottawa ordered the National Energy Board a month later to re-examine the project with added consideration of its marine impact. Last week, the Peter Watson, the chief executive officer of the NEB, told BNN Bloomberg the review is excepted to be completed on time and on budget.
Given the nature of the purchase, Lavallée doesn’t see the need for the $35-billlion Canada Infrastructure Bank to intercede.
“The role of the bank is to fill a gap in the capital structure where private investment is not sufficient,” he said. “In that particular instance, there was a different set of circumstances that led the federal government to buy the asset and the project and to drive its construction going forward with the appropriate processes in place.”
However, despite mounting concerns about Canadian competitiveness, Lavallée sees a strong global appetite for infrastructure investment that he is hoping to direct to Canadian projects.
“There has been a real surplus of capital earmarked to invest in infrastructure that’s been looking for a home around the world,” he said.
“What we’re hoping to do is to tap into that and bring it into Canada to build more infrastructure for Canadians.”