Victoria – Not with a bang but a whimper, the end is finally in sight for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and oil tanker project.
Enbridge’s failure to find any oil producers willing to sign shipping agreements means the National Energy Board will be forced to tear up the project permit at the end of June.
“Northern Gateway is circling the drain,” said Kai Nagata, Communications Director for the Dogwood Initiative. “There are 19 lawsuits against the project and the new federal government is drawing up legislation to ban oil tankers on the North Coast. No oil producer is going to stick its neck out and pay for shipping capacity on a pipeline that will never be built.”
Among the 209 conditions attached to the project’s approval by the NEB, Condition 2 created a best-before date on approval for the project, stating that construction must begin before December 31, 2016. Further, under Conditions 20 and 21, Enbridge must have secured commitments for at least 60 per cent of the pipeline’s capacity at least six months before starting construction.
Despite receiving conditional approval in June 2014, so far Enbridge has not been able to lock in a single customer for Northern Gateway. In its most recent NEB filing on December 21, 2015, Enbridge stated, “Further to its filing of June 29, 2015, Northern Gateway has not executed firm [transportation service agreements] with its prospective shippers.”
“If Enbridge can’t sign shipping agreements by the end of June, according to the NEB’s own rules the permit expires,” said Nagata. “Let the countdown begin!”