CALGARY —Kinder Morgan says it is suspending all non−essential activities and related spending on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
The company says its decision is based on the British Columbia government’s opposition to the project, which has been the focus of sustained protests at its marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C.
Kinder Morgan says it will consult with “various stakeholders” to try and reach an agreement by May 31 that might allow the project to proceed.
The company’s decision will be seen as a blow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has insisted that the pipeline would be built, despite the angry protests and the B.C. government’s continued battle against the project in the courts.
The expansion, which would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to Burnaby, was approved by the federal government in 2016.
Kinder Morgan says it will make a decision about the project’s future based on whether it can get “clarity” on its ability to do construction in B.C. and protect its shareholders.
“As KML has repeatedly stated, we will be judicious in our use of shareholder funds. In keeping with that commitment, we have determined that in the current environment, we will not put KML shareholders at risk on the remaining project spend,” Steve Kean, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“A company cannot resolve differences between governments. While we have succeeded in all legal challenges to date, a company cannot litigate its way to an in−service pipeline amidst jurisdictional differences between governments.”
Kean said the uncertainty around the company’s ability to finish the project “leads us to the conclusion that we should protect the value that KML has, rather than risking billions of dollars on an outcome that is outside of our control.”
About 200 people have been arrested near Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., during recent protests.
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The Canadian Press