British Columbia’s opposition to Kinder Morgan Inc.’s $5.8 billion oil pipeline expansion won’t stop Canada’s westernmost province from welcoming natural gas exporters.
Kinder’s plan to haul more crude to the Pacific shore threatens coastal fisheries and tourism, Carole James, the province’s finance minister, said in an interview Tuesday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. Her biggest concern: the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic that would occur as Asia-bound cargoes expanded.
That antipathy doesn’t extend to oil’s lesser-known cousin, liquefied natural gas. Undeterred by the recent cancellations of two multi-billion dollar LNG developments in the province, James said other investments seem likely to go forward. Royal Dutch Shell Plc has said it may sell some of its yet-to-built Canadian LNG assets while Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. have been mum on the status of their proposed projects.
“Let’s just say I’m optimistic not pessimistic on at least a plant coming to British Columbia,” James said.
In July, Petroliam Nasional Bhd pulled the plug on its $27 billion plan to ship LNG from Western Canada to Asia as U.S. brokers hawking ample supplies of shale gas crowded the Malaysian company out of the market. Last month, China’s Cnooc Ltd. followed suit, axing its Aurora LNG development.
The cancellations were driven by economics and prices, James said, rather than the change in government. In a report last week, Canada’s National Energy Board touted B.C. as a good location for terminals due to its naturally cooler temperatures, making it more energy- and cost-efficient to chill and liquefy gas.
British Columbia is a participant in the pending legal challenge against the Kinder oil pipe, which won federal approval in November.