Enbridge may become desperate and choose less safe alternatives

Blog, Transportation, Joseph Quesnel

Richard Neufeld, a former B.C. energy minister and oil and gas industry booster, now says publicly he doubts Enbridge will be able to build the Northern Gateway pipeline even if the company obtains federal approval.

First Nations protests across BC (Alberta bands are much more in support) and BC Premier Christy Clark’s recent claims on Alberta royalties for the projects are raising potential costs and uncertainties over the project.

This comes despite clear advances in tanker safety and Enbridge’s commitment to increase resources into pipeline safety (despite pipelines being a very safe form of transport via-a-vis other options such as rail).

Last year, Vancouver Sun Columnist Barbara Yaffe speculated that plans could be afoot to move bitumen by train from Alberta to Valdez, Alaska.

As hopes fade for the project, it  becomes more realistic that the company may seek rail alternatives to get product to the market, whether in the U.S. or to Asia.

Thus, the climate surrounding Gateway has to change before less safe, more risky alternatives become more serious options.