Pipeline profits: Big for Alta., small for B.C.
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:30PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2012 10:14PM EDT
Oil-rich Alberta stands to gain $551.6 billion in taxes between 2011 and 2035 should three contentious pipeline projects become a reality, according to a report released Tuesday.
Further west, however, British Columbia is poised to receive significantly less (roughly $9.8 billion) over the same time period even though the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and Trans Mountain expansion will run through the province and avail of its ports.
The report published by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) on Tuesday examined the potential economic impacts of three pipeline projects -- Keystone XL, Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway -- with figures based on the assumption the projects would happen.
Benefits in Alberta, where oilsands development is taking place, were apparent. Even Ontario stood to see considerable advantages from the projects, with a potential GDP impact of $18.5 billion between 2011 and 2035.
By comparison, the benefits in British Columbia were considerably less pronounced.
Alberta stands to have highest share of employee compensation benefits at $746.8 billion, whereas employee compensation is pegged at $20.4billion in British Columbia.
The report comes against the backdrop of a political tug of war between B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford over Enbridge’s proposed $5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which would run from the oilsands in Alberta to ports in British Columbia, making the oil available for export to Asian markets.
Clark has asked for a larger share of royalties from the project, a demand that’s been rejected by Redford and characterized as a “toll gate” approach by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
In an interview with CTV’s Canada AM in late July, Clark explained her request for more compensation by pointing to the environmental risks of the Northern Gateway project.
"Heavy oil is a unique and very dangerous commodity to move. We're not talking about grain here," she said.
"We know (natural gas is) a relatively low-risk commodity to move. Heavy oil is a very, very different proposition for us.”
The B.C. premier continues to ask both Alberta and the federal government for greater compensation in the Northern Gateway project, though it’s unclear how much she’s seeking.
According to the CERI report, TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL stands to benefit Alberta the most, potentially offering the province $121-billion in incremental tax revenue over 25 years.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is designed to carry oil from Alberta, through Saskatchewan and into Montana, Nebraska and Texas. U.S. President Barack Obama has delayed a decision on the project until next year, a move that critics have characterized as political posturing.
In the meantime, energy company Kinder Morgan hopes to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast by 2017.