CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) will take until at least Dec. 4 to review Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd’s (KML.TO) appeal over its Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion, the regulator said on Tuesday, rejecting the company’s proposed “expedited” timeline.
The company, a unit of Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N), last month asked the regulator to intervene after it said it was unable to obtain permits from the city of Burnaby, British Columbia. [nL2N1N130W]
Burnaby has long opposed the expansion over environmental concerns, and the lack of permits from the city adds to the hurdles facing the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) expansion, as North American energy projects face increasing opposition from activists.
Kinder Morgan Canada declined to comment, although in previous regulatory filings it said such cases could result in delays for the expansion, which is scheduled to go online December 2019.
In a statement on Tuesday, the NEB said it will hear cross-examinations on affidavits on Nov. 29 and oral summaries on Dec. 4, without saying when it will make a decision.
Kinder Morgan had asked for the case to involve only written submissions to the board, and for that process to conclude by Nov. 10. The company had noted a related case was resolved in a month.
Canadian oil producers, whose landlocked product trades at a discount to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark CLc1, say they need additional pipeline capacity to fetch better prices.
The proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Canada’s oil-rich Alberta province would nearly triple its capacity to 890,000 barrels per day and significantly increase crude tanker traffic off the west coast.
Alberta and fellow crude-producing province Saskatchewan have since joined Kinder Morgan in its appeal, while British Columbia has joined on the side of Burnaby.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on Monday rejected Burnaby’s request that the province’s attorney general retract his accusation that the city is purposely denying the permits.
Reporting by Ethan Lou; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker