Ottawa Says It Plans To Sell Trans Mountain Pipeline Once Project Is Completed

Canada’s newly appointed Natural Resources Minister wasted no time in announcing that the federal government in Ottawa is searching for a buyer for the troubled Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who was sworn into cabinet on Wednesday, said on Thursday that Ottawa is “not in this for the long haul… Our goal is to remove the political uncertainty, get this project underway and once that political uncertainty is dealt with, we will explore options of transferring these assets back to the private sector.”

The Trudeau government continues to look for a buyer to take on the pipeline after committing in May to buy the project, which is facing staunch opposition in B.C. amid a heated dispute with neighbouring Alberta over plans to expand the oil pipeline’s capacity.

The federal government committed in May to buy the project after Kinder Morgan issued an ultimatum and a drop dead date on the project’s go-ahead. According to Kinder Morgan, the deal will close late this year or early in 2019. Minster Sohi would not comment on the final purchase price.

“Our focus is to make sure that we get Trans Mountain expansion pipeline built,” said Minister Sohi, an Edmonton Member of Parliament and former infrastructure minister.

Canada is too reliant on U.S. markets to sell its oil and the coastal pipeline expansion is key to diversifying markets, Minister Sohi told reporters.

“The $15 billion we lose every year because we only have only one customer and we have to sell our oil at a discounted price is unacceptable to our government,” he said.