Enbridge Gets Pipeline Refund

Enbridge logo2

CBJ — Enbridge is getting a $14.7-million refund on fees it paid Canada’s federal energy regulator for a pipeline it won’t build.

The Northern Gateway pipeline was supposed to connect Alberta’s oilpatch to a port in Kitimat, B.C., but the plan started to came apart when the federal Liberal government banned tankers carrying large amounts of crude oil from British Columbia’s northern coast. Tankers are permitted on the southern coast, including Vancouver.

Without tankers to serve the northern port, there would be no point constructing more than 1,100 kilometres of pipeline to send Alberta bitumen to Kitimat. The plan had been to ship the oil to primarily Asian markets.

In June 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that when the federal government approved the pipeline, it hadn’t adequately consulted Indigenous Peoples the pipeline would affect. A few months later, in late November, the Liberals decided to revoke the approvals given to let the project get as far as it had.

Enbridge had paid the National Energy Board $14.7 million in regulatory fees to monitor the pipeline’s construction and operation. That was about 0.2% of the estimated $8-billion cost of building it.

In February, the energy company asked for a refund. Just before Christmas, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet agreed, saying in a formal decision that “it is just and reasonable to remit the funds.”

Enbridge says it is still out $373 million in lost costs for the cancelled project.