May 31, 2017 / 10:50 PM / 2 years ago

Kinder Morgan Canada says pipeline facing obstacle has 'met every test'

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Kinder Morgan Inc’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has “met every test” in its bid to attain approval, the company said on Wednesday, responding to a vow by the British Columbia province’s de facto incoming government to block the project.

FILE PHOTO -- Crude oil storage tanks at the Kinder Morgan terminal in Sherwood Park, near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada November 14, 2016. REUTERS/File Photo

The expansion of the pipeline that transits British Columbia has obtained both federal and regulatory approval and has passed an environmental assessment under the province’s incumbent Liberals.

“Trans Mountain has followed every process and met every test put before us,” Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd President Ian Anderson said in his first public comment after British Columbia’s Green and New Democratic parties said on Tuesday they would use “every tool” against the project.

“Over many years, our project has been reviewed, analyzed, discussed and considered thoroughly,” Anderson said in a statement.

The company is starting to award “significant” contracts and is moving ahead with benefit agreements, he said.

The Trans Mountain expansion almost triples the capacity of the existing pipeline, which is designed to carry crude from Canada’s oil sands to the West Coast.

Canada’s oil producers, who lack export routes, say it helps them to attain better prices.

The expansion has the backing of British Columbia’s Liberal Party, which lost its legislative majority in a May 9 election.

The opposition Greens and New Democrats have sealed a deal to unseat the Liberals and said on Tuesday they would be consulting provincial bureaucrats on permitting for the expansion.

While there is some dispute over whether British Columbia has a formal right to a veto, the province can raise hurdles that could effectively make the pipeline impossible to build.

Prolonged battles over Trans Mountain and other crude pipelines have raised questions over the viability of new energy projects in British Columbia.

Reporting by Ethan Lou, editing by G Crosse

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