Enbridge Northern Gateway has told the Joint Review Panel that expansion of the proposed bitumen and condensate terminal in Kitimat is urgent so the company can access offshore markets for Alberta bitumen sands crude.
Northern Gateway filed an update on its plans for the Kitimat in response to a ruling from the JRP, after Smithers-based activist Josette Weir questioned how Enbridge filed a route update with the panel which included the plans to expand the terminal.
The JRP ruled against two of Weir’s motions but upheld, in part, her objection that the terminal plans were not part of a route revision.
In the Motion, Ms. Wier argues that there are a number of completely unrelated documents embedded within the route revision changes including, for example, a “noticeable increase in the number of oil tanks at the Kitimat terminal” with “significant size increases included.” There is no discussion in the update documents on how these changes are related to the proposed routing change. Ms. Wier further notes that this evidence was submitted after the completion of questioning on engineering (including regarding the Kitimat tank farm) in Prince George last
The Panel notes that it may be of use to parties for Northern Gateway to identify which of the exhibits submitted on 28 December, 2012, were: (i) directly related to Route Revision V; (ii)corollary to Route Revision V; or (iii) unrelated to Route Revision V. Accordingly, the Panelorders Northern Gateway to submit, on or before 1 February 2013, a chart setting out this information for each of the exhibits submitted in the 28 December 2012 update. Further, where the documents are listed as “unrelated to Route Revision V”, Northern Gateway is to provide a
brief description as to why this evidence is being filed at this time.
In response, Northern Gateway filed a spreadsheet with the JRP to clarify the reasons for including the expansion of the tank farm. As the JRP requested, the explanation is brief, but significant.
Northern Gateway stated that “the size and spacing of tanks will be optimized during detailed design.”
In recognition of the urgency of accessing offshore markets, Northern Gateway and its Funding Participants have recently agreed to proceed with engineering and design activities.
Brief description as to why this evidence is being filed at this time required:
…for preparation of a Class III Cost Estimate, at an expected cost of over $150 million. Discussions with the Funding Participants in late 2012 resulted in a more detailed analysis of the tankage required by shippers, with particular emphasis on ensuring an adequate degree of commodity segregation within the tank farm. That analysis, which concluded in December 2012, revealed that additional tankage would be required to satisfy commodity segregation requirements.
Northern Gateway included this information along with its Route V filing as a matter of convenience to all involved.
In respone to Weir’s objection that the Enbridge Northern Gateway filed a major change to the project and noted that most intervenors are limited to the deadlines set by the JRP, and that the engineering hearings in Prince George had already concluded.
In response, the panel ruled that Enbridge could present the evidence at the marine hearings in Prince Rupert that resumed today.
In its letter enclosing the 28 December 2012 update on Route Revision V, Northern Gateway noted that, “to the extent that there are questions regarding this filing that have not been previously addressed, members of the Northern Gateway Kitimat River Valley engineering design and emergency preparedness witness panel will be available to answer same when they appear in Prince Rupert.”
The Panel is of the view that any substantive questions on the updated evidence could best be
addressed through questioning in Prince Rupert, as suggested.
At the opening of the hearings in Prince Rupert, Coastal First Nations withdrew from the process, citing the cost and complexity of the hearings. Both events once again call into question the fairness of the Joint Review Process and whether or not there is a double standard, with one set of standards for Enbridge Northern Gateway and another for intervenors.