TransCanada touts major backing as premiers to discuss west-east pipeline – by Shawn McCarthy and Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – July 25, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA AND NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONT. — TransCanada Corp. says it has garnered significant support for its quest to ship Western crude to refineries in the East, as premiers seek consensus on a politically charged cross-country pipeline.

The Calgary-based company told The Globe and Mail it has received major backing from producers who want to ship crude on its Energy East pipeline, and will make an announcement in the coming weeks.

Canada’s premiers will discuss the proposed pipeline – which has been championed by Alberta and New Brunswick – at the Council of the Federation this week in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

The discussions take place as Quebec Premier Pauline Marois grapples with the fallout from the catastrophic train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, which has raised questions about the safety of transporting oil. Alberta Premier Alison Redford and New Brunswick’s David Alward will highlight the proposal as a nation-building project as the premiers gather for the annual meeting.

A formal agreement is not expected, according to industry and political sources.

Quebec has been wary of speaking out about the pipeline so soon after the fatal explosion, according to a source in one of the other premiers’ offices who spoke to The Globe on condition of anonymity.

But Quebec remains supportive behind the scenes, the source said.

The Energy East project would carry as many as 850,000 barrels per day of crude from Alberta to Quebec and Saint John, for domestic refineries and for export.

Alberta’s proposed national energy strategy is a key item on the agenda for the meeting. At the premiers’ meeting last year, Ms. Redford bickered with British Columbia’s Christy Clark over Ms. Clark’s opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would transport 500,000 barrels per day of crude across B.C. for export terminals at Kitimat.

Ms. Marois has said little publicly about the Energy East proposal, though Ms. Redford and Mr. Alward have met with her in the past and described her as supportive. “We really do see the work that’s gone on with respect to Energy East as a great example of why a Canadian energy strategy matters,” Ms. Redford told The Globe on Wednesday.

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