Out with the old, in with the new — that’s the pitch Enbridge Chief Executive Officer Patrick Daniel has made to the Canadian government as it ponders how to handle the Canadian portion of an Alaska gas pipeline.
He told a conference call with analysts Jan. 26 that the government should allow approval of the pipeline through Canada to proceed under the National Energy Board and not be tied to the 1978 Northern Pipeline Act that gives TransCanada sole rights.
Daniel later told the Financial Post that TransCanada’s certificates are more than 25 years old for a project that was never built.
Rather than stick with outdated legislation, he urged the government to “maintain regulatory neutrality and to avoid any decisions that will limit the commercial flexibility of this project,” arguing that the Northern Pipeline Act would likely delay completion of the pipeline and increase the costs.
Daniel suggested that proponents of the act and the TransCanada proposal should have “absolutely nothing to fear if their solution is best.”
Canada’s Natural Resources Minister John Efford has indicated a preference for the 1978 legislation, but is currently undertaking a review of the project before deciding how Canada will handle an application. He has promised a February announcement on Canada’s stance.
Although it does not have a formal deal with North Slope gas owners ExxonMobil, BP and ConocoPhillips, Enbridge has aligned itself with their argument for a greenfield approach to the pipeline. Daniel said at the Jan. 27 Meet Alaska conference that Enbridge is working with the three North Slope producers versus proposing its own project to take North Slope gas to market.
Editor’s note: Watch for full story in the Jan. 30 edition of Petroleum News available online tomorrow afternoon