How Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau May Use Kinder Morgan To Bring Back Energy East Pipeline

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energy-east-pipelineMuch has been said about the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and while the Trudeau Government has made it clear they do not want to own it for very long, there are rumblings that they will use this as a management tool to develop or support the much needed Energy East Pipeline.

In the last few months the debate over such an advanced economy as Canada exporting raw materials and importing finished goods based on those raw materials has become front and center.  Even BC Premier and Chief Blocker of the Trans Mountain pipeline, John Horgan, wants oil to be refined in Canada and would accept that as an option to shipping the raw oil:

Horgan’s idea is to refine the bitumen from the oilsands so that it’s shipped out of B.C. as finished product, whether gasoline, diesel or aviation fuel, light crude or what have you. The logic behind this idea would solve the major objection B.C. has to the transport of diluted bitumen through its coastal waters.
Source: theprovince.com/opinion/op-ed/joseph-maloney-refining-the-bitumen-might-be-the-way-out-of-pipeline-dispute 

where-canada-gets-its-foreign oilMost citizens in eastern Canada, Quebec and Ontario specifically are unaware that nearly all of their petroleum products are coming from places like Russia, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.  If they could be “educated” in the facts they would see that sourcing oil from these environmentally questionable sources and shipping it around the globe is much less “environmental” than simply piping Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan oil through a mostly existing pipeline that was previously named Energy East.

Currently the Kinder Morgan / BC crisis is a political dog for the Trudeau Liberals.  They will receive very few extra votes in the Western Provinces for their principled stand and that stand has alienated some of their base in Ontario and Quebec.  Trudeau and the Liberals now have a choice:

  1. keep playing the current game and have a net loss of votes
  2. double down and make something even more meaningful happen to attract Western voters and “educate” Eastern voters

If the Liberals use Kinder Morgan to revisit the Energy East debate, especially now that the main stumbling block (and least informed, most politically motivated mayor in years,) Denis Coderre is gone they could turn a dead dog into a winning thoroughbred horse.

The Liberals have a massive political investment soon to be matched by (a likely profitable) financial investment in the Trans Mountain Pipeline.  Support for the project has been growing Canada wide as the public has become more informed on the issues.  The fall of 2018 would be the right time for the Liberals to double down on the Energy East line.  The Energy Easy pipeline is:

  1. a national security issue
  2. a environmental issue
  3. a flexible infrastructure
    • Pipelines get reversed in direction and used to transport different products all the time.  Today oil eastward, tomorrow water westward, 10 years from now hydrogen in both directions (from Manitoba)
    • pipelines are NOT like high tension power lines in that once the infrastructure is built, it will be used that way for 50 to 100 years.  Energy East is already mostly built to carry natural gas today
  4. massive financial issue
    • we have to pay for social programs somehow
  5. provider of thousands of construction jobs
  6. ties the Canadian Confederation together tighter

Canada, mostly in the Western Provinces produce about 3.1 Billion Barrels of Oil per year and export 3.1B of that, mostly to the united States.  The problem is we consume about 1B of oil per year to meet our own consumption needs.  That is just plain nutty and the Liberals could be in the right place and the right time to explain this to Canadians and save their own political hides in the next election.

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