Two days left for public input on BC “heavy oil” spill response plans

oilspillresonsepaperResidents of British Columbia have just two days to file information and opinions on the province’s  plans for “options for strengthening BC’s spill preparedness and response policies and capacity.”

A page on the BC Ministry of the Environment’s web site  wants public input as part of “BC’s five conditions necessary for support of heavy oil projects.”

Premier Christy Clark announced her controversial five conditions for pipeline development in BC in July 2012. Clark’s announcement was aimed both at the Northern Gateway Pipeline which would have its terminal in Kitimat, and the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion which has its terminal in Vancouver.

It is not clear how long the web page has been up,  but the call for input from the public has received little, if any, publicity. The deadline for public submissions is February 15, 2013.

(Northwest Coast Energy News was alerted to the story by a Kitimat-based hiking club)

A separate call for academic papers had a deadline of January 25. The province plans a conference on oil spill response  in Vancouver from March 25 to March 27. The website says”

As part of British Columbia’s commitment to a world leading preparedness and response regime for land based spills, it is hosting a symposium March 25-27, 2013 in Vancouver, BC. Due to the anticipated high interest in the symposium, attendance is by invitation only.

One question would be if invitation only is designed to exclude activist groups who may wish to participate or demonstrate. The Northern Gateway Joint Review panel banned public input at hearings in Vancouver and Victoria earlier this year to try, not always successfully, to head off demonstrations. The webpage says:

In keeping with the established polluter-pay principle, and recognizing the increase in development activities across the province, the Ministry of Environment (the ministry) is reviewing industry funded options for strengthening BC’s spill preparedness and response policies and capacity. Land based spill refers to any spill impacting the terrestrial environment, including coastal shorelines, regardless of the source.

This review addresses three aspects of land based spill preparedness and response: World leading regime for land based spill preparedness and response

Effective and efficient rules for restoration of the environment following a spill

Effective government oversight and coordination of industry spill response The ministry has developed a policy intentions paper for consultation (intentions paper) on the three aspects of the province’s land based spill preparedness and response regime under consideration.

The purpose of this intentions paper is to describe the ministry’s proposed policy direction and seek input on enhancing spill preparedness and response in BC. The intentions paper is a discussion document and your feedback will influence the policy approach.

Although the call for input is on the ministry website, the contact is a management consulting firm C. Rankin & Associates.

Kinder Morgan announces plans to increase capacity of Trans Mountain pipeline to Vancouver

Trans Mountain pipelne
The Trans Mountain Pipeline (Kinder Morgan)

Kinder Morgan, of Houston, Texas,  said Thursday, April 12, 2012, it plans to proceed with expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline system from Alberta to the BC Lower Mainland. The company made the announcement after what the energy industry calls an “open season,” a search for customers where it received “strong binding commitments” from existing and new shippers. They pledged commercial support to an additional 660,000 barrels per day of bitumen sands crude from the pipeline. Demand has been high and reports say Kinder Morgan has had to ration petroleum products for its existing customers.

The 20 year commitment from the customers means the pipeline capacity would increase to 850,000 barrels per day from 550,000 barrels. That would make the eventual capacity of the Kinder Morgan pipeline much larger than Enbridge Northern Gateway’s proposed 525,000 barrels per day.

In a release,  Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada said, “We are extremely pleased with the strong commercial support that we received through the open season, which reinforces the appeal of our project and our approach. This strong commercial support shows the market’s enthusiasm for expanding market access for Canadian crude by expanding an existing system.”

Now Kinder Morgan has to get approval from the National Energy Board and acceptance from the local communities along the pipeline route from the Alberta bitumen sands to the terminals and refineries in Vancouver and in Washington state and for tanker export.

“This support from the market better defines the project and enables Kinder Morgan Canada to fully engage the local communities. We are still early in the engagement process of the project,” Anderson said in the release. “We share respectful, open relationships with many communities and organizations interested in our business. We are committed to an 18 to 24 month inclusive, extensive and thorough engagement on all aspects of the project with local communities along the proposed route and marine corridor, including First Nations and Aboriginal groups, environmental organizations and all other interested parties. We will also consider providing financial support to local communities for environmental initiatives. We have been planning for this day for many years and we are keen to start in depth engagement this summer.”

Kinder Morgan says the preliminary scope of the proposed project includes:


  • Projected capital cost of approximately $5 billion.
  • Twinning the existing pipeline within the existing right-of-way, where possible.
  • Adding new pump stations along the route.
  • Increasing the number of storage tanks at existing facilities.
  • Expanding the Westridge Marine Terminal.

Anderson added, “We anticipate filing a facilities application initiating a regulatory review with the National Energy Board in 2014. If our application is approved, construction is currently forecast to commence in 2016 with the proposed project operating by 2017.”

In addition to extensive engagement, the company will conduct traditional land use and environmental and socio-economic studies, and undertake detailed engineering and design studies, the release says.

The Trans Mountain proposal, like the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is a “facilities application,” and one uncertainty facing the company will be the highly controversial decision by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government to speed up all future project applications of that type. Environmental groups have already expressed strong opposition to the speed up, while the energy industry has said faster application approval is long over due.

As well as the facilities application, Kinder Morgan says it will file “a commercial tolling application to review the company’s proposed commercial structure for the expansion. This filing, which is anticipated in summer 2012, will seek National Energy Board approval on how the company will charge its customers for transporting their product through the proposed expanded pipeline.”

Kinder Morgan says that for almost 60 years, the 1,150-km Trans Mountain pipeline system has been safely and efficiently providing the only west coast access for Canadian oil products, including about 90 percent of the gasoline supplied to the interior and south coast of British Columbia.

However, the continuing controversy over the Enbridge Northern Gateway and other pipeline projects, together with some accidents including the spill of 100,000 barrels of light crude near Abbotsford, has raised the profile of the Kinder Morgan line and therefore will likely bring more public scrutiny. Any increase in the capacity of the pipeline will also mean more tanker traffic in the already crowded waterways of the Vancouver harbour system and along the west coast.

Last June, Kinder Morgan also proposed the building of second pipeline from the bitumen sands to the west coast, roughly following the route of the Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat. There was no mention of that project in today’s announcement.


Kinder Morgan aims to expand Trans Mountain pipeline: Globe and Mail

Energy Link

Nathan Vanderklippe writes in The Globe and Mail  Kinder Morgan aims to expand Trans Mountain pipeline

A second project has been launched to carry major new volumes of oil-sands crude to Pacific waters, amid mounting industry interest in exporting Canadian oil to Asia.
Kinder Morgan Canada has begun accepting bids from companies prepared to ship oil on a proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain system, which runs 1,150 kilometres from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.

The Trans Mountain pipeline system, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., would be twinned to carry more crude.

The process is called an “open season,” and serves as an important kickoff to a project that has ambitions similar to the controversial $6.6-billion Northern Gateway pipeline proposed by Enbridge Inc. It also promises to raise a new front in the battle between industry and environmental critics over building infrastructure to move oil across B.C. and onto tankers.

Both Northern Gateway and the Trans Mountain expansion seek to open new access to Pacific tidewater, providing a connection to Asian markets for an industry that is increasingly eager to break its dependence on the United States as virtually its sole export destination…

Salon article calls Northern Gateway Keystone’s “evil twin”, asserts pipeline will never be built

Energy Environment Commentary

Michael Byers, the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at UBC, writes about the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in, largely for an American audience, calling the pipeline The evil twin of the Keystone XL oil pipeline

U.S. opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline should take take note: One of the greatest weaknesses of the proposed 1,980 mile-long pipeline from Canada’s tar sand fields to refineries in Texas actually lies in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast.

That’s where a second pipeline (“Northern Gateway”) could link the tar sands of central Canada to coastal British Columbia.

The U.S. State Department has accepted assertions that the production of heavy oil will increase regardless of whether Keystone XL is built, because the Northern Gateway pipeline would bring oil for shipment to China. Denying permission for Keystone XL would not promote the U.S. national interest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the State Department says, because China will use the energy anyway.

Byers then goes on to describe in great detail the opposition to the pipeline in British Columbia from First Nations and residents of the northern part of the province. He also describes growing opposition to the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline to Vancouver. (See today’s story Kinder Morgan buys natural gas pipeline) especially the hazards of sending tankers through Second Narrows.

From all that Byers concludes:

In short, there’s a bit of snake oil in the pipeline-to-China assumptions. The U.S. State Department must assess the full environmental impact of Keystone XL. It cannot ignore the carbon footprint of Canada’s tar sands because of an alternative pipeline to China that does not exist and will likely never be built.

It seems that Byers is certainly jumping to conclusions that the Northern Gateway will never be built, especially since Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and cabinet ministers John Moore and Joe Oliver has said it is in the national interest that the Northern Gateway should proceed.

Kinder Morgan buys US natural gas pipeline company in $21 billion dollar deal

Kinder Morgan, the giant oil pipeline company, which has proposed building a second bitumen pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat, Sunday announced it was buying El Paso Corp, America’s largest natural gas pipeline operator.

The Associated Press says the deal is worth $20.7 billion, Bloomberg says it is worth $21.1 billion.

Kinder Morgan already operates a pipeline from Alberta through British Columbia to the port of Vancouver and there are plans to expand that pipeline.

Kinder Morgan’s move comes after Enbridge also said it was interested in moving into the natural gas pipeline business. Both companies are moving to take advantage of the natural gas found in shale deposits and the growing demand for natural gas in both North America and Asia.


The takeover is the largest ever proposed of a pipeline company, surpassing the 2007 leveraged buyout of Kinder Morgan itself by a group including Richard Kinder and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The combined company would have 67,000 miles (107,000 kilometers) of gas lines and eclipse Enterprise Products Partners LP as the biggest U.S. pipeline operator.

“This once in a lifetime transaction is a win-win opportunity for both companies,” Kinder, who will be chairman and chief executive officer of the combined company, said in the statement. He said the deal, once closed, would create immediate shareholder value because of its cash flow.

The Associated Press says

Kinder Morgan will more than double the size of its pipeline network by purchasing El Paso. The new pipeline system would stretch 80,000 miles — long enough to wind around the globe three times. Kinder Morgan’s pipelines in the Rocky Mountains, the Midwest and Texas will be woven together with El Paso’s expansive network that spreads east from the Gulf Coast to New England, and to the west through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.

“We believe that natural gas is going to play an increasingly integral role in North America,” said Richard Kinder, Kinder Morgan Inc.’s chief executive, said on Sunday when the deal was announced.

Robert McFadden, a Houston-based natural gas pipeline consultant, said the expanded network will make it easier to move natural gas from new fields that have mushroomed across the U.S. in the past few years.

The take over deal came on the same weekend that the “Occupy” movement was demonstrating around the world against the greed of financial institutions.

Reuters reports that:

The investment banks advising on Kinder Morgan Inc’s $21 billion purchase of El Paso Corp are set to rake in a total of $100 million to $145 million in M&A fees, according to Freeman & Co on Sunday.

Evercore Partners and Barclays Capital , which are advising Kinder Morgan on the deal, would earn $45 million to $65 million in fees, Freeman estimates show.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs , which are on El Paso’s side, would split another $55 million to $80 million in fees, depending on the role they played, the estimates show.

Kinder Morgan proposes second Kitimat bitumen pipeline

In a story broken early Thursday, June 2, by the Vancouver website Tyee and confirmed by Northwest Coast Energy news,  another major energy player, Kinder  Morgan is proposing a second pipeline to carry bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to the port of Kitimat.

The proposal was part of a presentation to industry analysts  during a conference on March 24, 2011, with a PDF of the Power Point presentation posted on the Kinder Morgan Website.

The  likely controversial proposal was not picked up by the media until Tyee broke the story.

The presentation says the proposed pipeline is one of several alternatives proposed for the expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan Transmountain Pipeline.  In this scenario the pipeline to Kitimat would branch off from the Transmountain Pipeline go through Prince George and then apparently follow existing pipeline routes to Kitimat and not follow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway route.


The Kinder Morgan presentation says the Transmountain pipeline branch to Kitimat would cost $4 billion, compared to the $5,5 billion that Enbridge has budgeted for the Northern Gateway project.  The Transmountain pipeline would have a capacity of  450 million  barrels a day compared  to the Northern Gateway capacity  of 550 million barrels a day.

Tyee says:

A power point presentation
for investors by Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada Group,
provides a wealth of information that has not been widely shared with
the general public or local governments:

Tyee says Kinder Morgan is also asking the National Energy Board for a immediate jump in the bitumen going through the port of Vancouver

They are also requesting to divert more Alberta crude and bitumen capacity to the Westbridge tanker terminal in Burrard Inlet and away from existing land-based refineries in B.C. and Washington. If approved, this would immediately expand crude capacity through Vancouver from 52,000 bpd to 79,000 bpd — an increase of more than 50 per cent


According to the documents seen by Tyee, the Vancouver end of the project would require the dredging of Second Narrows to allow large supertankers to visit the port. Tanker traffic in Vancouver would increase, Tyee says

Tanker transits through Vancouver will increase to 216 per year in 2016, up from 71 in 2010 and 22 in 2005.

All this is being propelled by increasing energy demand from China. It also appears that Kinder Morgan wants to increase the Vancouver capacity because of the delays in the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, which means that Alberta oil patch is seeking new ways to get the raw bitumen to China.

Kinder Morgan Canada presentation on the Kitimat pipeline and the Vancouver port expansion (PDF)

Kinder Morgan application to the National Energy Board (PDF))

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