TransCanada says to decide on Quebec oil terminal by March 31

Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:06am EST
 
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By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta Feb 11 (Reuters) - Pipeline company TransCanada Corp said on Wednesday it will decide by March 31 whether to proceed with an oil export terminal in Quebec that has come under fire from environmentalists who say it poses a threat to beluga whales.

TransCanada spokesman Tim Duboyce made the comments in response to a local media report about its plans for the proposed terminal in the Cacouna area of Quebec, which sits on the St. Lawrence River.

The La Press report, citing unnamed Quebec government sources, said the decision to scrap the terminal in Cacouna would be a formality and the company is considering other sites on Canada's east coast.

"No decision has been made on that. We are examining all options and are giving ourselves up until March 31," Duboyce said. "Right now everything is on the table."

Canada's second-largest pipeline company paused work on the proposed Cacouna terminal in December after a federal committee recommended that beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River be listed as an 'endangered' species.

The terminal is one of two marine export facilities planned as part of TransCanada's C$12 billion ($9.5 billion) Energy East pipeline, which would carry 1.1 million barrels per day of Western Canadian crude to refineries and ports on the east coast.

It would also allow oil to be shipped to international markets such as India and Europe.

The project has run into opposition from environmentalists who are concerned about the risk of oil spills and rising greenhouse gas emission from Alberta's oil sands, as well as the potential impact of shipping on the beluga whale population. (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Richard Chang)