Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) and its Canadian subsidiary Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. already deliver 300,000 barrels a day of oil from the oil sands of Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. In late 2016, the company received approval from the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to proceed with a plan to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline to transport nearly 900,000 barrels a day to the town of Burnaby, B.C.
Thousands of protesters gathered Saturday in Burnaby to condemn the pipeline expansion, according to an Associated Press report. Opponents are concerned because an expansion of the Burnaby terminal and the pipeline leading to it will result in a dramatic increase in the number of tankers and the potential for spills and damage to fish, orcas, and other wildlife. Three new berths at the terminal would push the number of tankers in the area from 5 to 35 a month.
Last month Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) ruled that Kinder Morgan could begin work on the tunnel entrance for the pipeline expansion, removed all restrictions on pre-construction of the tunnel, and approved the pipeline route. The NEB had ordered a work stoppage in December while it considered these issues.
Kinder Morgan claims to have the support of the country’s First Nations “whose reserves it intends to cross.” Tribal leaders have rejected that claim.
The expanded pipeline gives the Canadian oil sands an outlet to Asia and the west coast of the United States and could result in a massive cash injection for the country, the province of Alberta, and the oil companies working in the region.
In its January earnings report the company said it projected an unmitigated delay to a December 2020 in-service date, delayed from a prior in-service date of September 2020. As of the end of the fourth quarter 2017, Kinder Morgan has invested a total of C$930 million in the project.