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HOUSTON – Saying he is “astounded” by opposition in British Columbia to his company’s proposed pipeline expansion, the head of U.S. energy infrastructure giant Kinder Morgan Inc. warned his company will forge ahead with construction starting in the summer of 2016, if the project receives Ottawa’s approval.
Richard Kinder, chairman and CEO of Houston-based Kinder Morgan, said Wednesday the increasingly vocal opposition is part of an organized movement to use pipeline permits across North America as a “choke point.”
“I believe that Canada, like the U.S., has the rule of law, and I think if you have a valid federal decision to go forward, the project will go forward,” he said at the IHS CERAWeek conference here. “I think we will get this permitted. We intend to get it build. And we hope to see it in service in the third quarter of 2018.”
The approach is in contrast to that of Calgary-based Enbridge Inc., which has been treading carefully despite receiving a federal permit to build its Northern Gateway pipeline last year. The company has yet to announce a start-up date as it works to reduce opposition for its own Alberta-to-West coast pipeline project.
Mr. Kinder said opposition to the TransMountain expansion, which would triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil a day, is concentrated in the last 30 miles of the right of way, or in the province’s Lower Mainland area around Vancouver.
Meanwhile, communities along the remaining 87 per cent have signed community support agreements.
The $5.4-billion pipeline expansion involves twinning the existing pipeline.
The opposition has involved protest camps, confrontations with local politicians and lawsuits. Perceived slow response to a recent bunker fuel spill in Vancouver has fanned more alarm about Kinder Morgan’s plans, which would mean more oil tankers navigating the coast.
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