The Trans Mountain Expansion Project has undergone unprecedented scrutiny and review over the past six years – that was the message from the President of Kinder Morgan Canada Limited to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade on November 30, 2017.

Ian Anderson was speaking at the 2017 Energy Forum, which brought together a diverse range of industry representatives, policy-makers and the business community for a dialogue on the importance of responsible energy development and its role in supporting a robust, economically sound and sustainable economy. He was joined by federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who both spoke about the importance of the Expansion Project and why it is in Canada’s best interest to ensure it gets built in a timely manner.

Anderson highlighted the fact that the Project has been the most thoroughly reviewed project in Canadian regulatory history, and set a new standard for review of energy projects in our country.

The expansion underwent a regulatory process that lasted more than five years and involved the input of some 400 Intervenors, as well as a thorough review of technical and scientific evidence that included close to 18,000 information requests from Intervenors and the National Energy Board (NEB).

He pointed out that the federal government approved the expansion one year ago, an approval that came after an extensive NEB hearing process that lasted 29 months – almost twice the length of the legislated maximum.

Trans Mountain has spent more than $800 million to date on the regulatory process and the work that’s been done to get the Project to the ground-breaking stage. And now, he says, it’s time to show Canadians and the world that we can have a healthy debate and rigorous review, and get projects built.

Trans Mountain began construction activities at Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby at the end of September. But, that’s the only portion of the Project currently under construction.

Anderson explained that, despite all the necessary approvals in hand, the Project has not progressed at the expected pace, because staff are continuing to acquire permits from a variety of authorities at federal, provincial and local levels.

He says the company is trying to make it as manageable as possible by identifying project-critical permits and working with permitting authorities to reduce duplication and improve efficiency.

He added that communities and individuals are excited to get to work on building the expansion and are waiting for pipeline construction to begin. There are some 3,500 individuals and 3,400 businesses who have signed up on the Trans Mountain website to let us know they want to be a part of this Project. We’ve been partnering with local chambers in BC and Alberta to host business readiness workshops – so far, six communities have welcomed about 600 businesses.

Trans Mountain has seven major contractors who are ready to get shovels in the ground and pipe is being manufactured by Canadian steelworkers in Saskatchewan. We also have agreements with Indigenous communities that will see them share in the benefits of this Project, including new training and employment opportunities.

Trans Mountain embraced the rigour of the review and the conversations that happened outside of the review. But now, he told the crowd, it’s time to get the expansion built. It’s time for governments big and small, as well as regulatory and permitting authorities, to work alongside businesses to ensure there’s a reasonable and timely path forward.

Anderson emphasized how important it is for Trans Mountain to have a clear line of sight on the timely conclusion of the permitting and approvals processes.

He added that it’s in everyone’s best interest to ensure that Canada is seen as a fair and attractive place to do business, because uncertainty is the enemy of investment. Further delays will not only affect Trans Mountain, it will impact the future of Canada’s entire energy industry.

To listen to Ian Anderson’s full speech, click here.

To listen to federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr’s speech about the need to reform the regulatory system, click here.

To listen to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s keynote address about the need to access new markets, click here.