The battle over Bill C-69: Oil industry, government at odds as project review bill heads to Senate hearing – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – February 2, 2019)

Hal Kvisle is “mad as hell.” The seasoned oil-industry executive has taken a good look through Bill C-69, the pending legislation that overhauls the review process for major resource projects, and he doesn’t like what he sees.

A former chief executive of TransCanada Corp., Mr. Kvisle spent a decade shepherding projects such as the Mackenzie Valley Gas pipeline and the original Keystone pipeline through Ottawa’s byzantine regulatory process, with mixed results. Now chairman of the board of ARC Resources Ltd. and a director for oil sands giant Cenovus Energy Inc., he worries burdensome federal policies are killing growth prospects in the Western Canadian oil industry and warns the new legislation will only compound the problem.

The Liberal legislation “takes a horrifically bad situation and makes it worse,” Mr. Kvisle says. “They’ve created something that we in industry – having been through what we have – we see no end in sight to that [review] process.” No pipeline company will pursue a project under those circumstances, he says.

Energy-industry executives say Bill C-69 threatens to bog down development projects just when they are most needed. The industry has long been hurt by a shortage of pipeline capacity that has exacted a huge cost in terms of discounted crude prices and lost revenue and jobs. Numerous projects aimed at fixing the problem have been stymied.

Industry opponents in British Columbia have managed to stall the TransMountain pipeline expansion despite the Liberal government’s $4.4-billion purchase of it, and one Indigenous group is now looking to block TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink project that would ship natural gas to liquefied natural-gas terminals in Kitimat, B.C., despite widespread support for the project from a host of First Nations there.

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