I helped plan Energy East, and I know the government’s excuses are bunk – by Dennis McConaghy (Financial Post – October 12, 2017)


Dennis McConaghy was formerly the executive vice-president of pipeline strategy and development at TransCanada Pipelines.

I was a senior officer of TransCanada Pipelines when the Energy East project was conceived and developed commercially, up to the mid-summer of 2014 when I retired (I continue to be a shareholder but obviously I am no longer a company insider).

Two things are clear to me. One: the termination of the Energy East project is a major economic loss for Canada, removing an important option for providing market access for growing production from Canada’s oil sands resource, including direct access to eastern Canadian crude oil markets.

Two: The Trudeau government should be stepping up to accept some real culpability for contributing to TransCanada’s decision to abandon the project, instead of resorting to various sophistries and distortions. The real lessons to be learned from the Energy East termination cannot be ignored if this country is to ever have a regulatory and public-policy regime conducive for private capital to take on the risks of major hydrocarbon infrastructure.

Understand some basic facts about this project. It was conceived and developed as an all-Canadian route-alternative to access not only domestic crude oil markets in eastern Canada but also to gain tidewater access to other global markets for Canadian oil sands production, that would not otherwise be accessible.

Moreover, it would convert existing underutilized gas-pipeline capacity between Alberta and eastern Ontario, thereby providing significant competitive advantage. The project successfully gained support from a diverse group of Canadian production interests, even as other pipeline projects such as Keystone XL, Northern Gateway and the Trans Mountain expansion were already in advanced stages of development, including pursuit of regulatory approval.

For the rest of this column: http://business.financialpost.com/opinion/i-helped-plan-energy-east-and-i-know-the-governments-excuses-are-bunk