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Trans Mountain pipeline to benefit if Biden scuttles Keystone: expert

Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline is seen under way in Kamloops, B.C., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Look for Ottawa to focus its attention on wrapping up a B.C. pipeline project in wake of Biden administration

Biden Administration is pledging to put the Keystone XL project back on-hold

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As Joe Biden prepares to take office this week, one key issue for the Canadian government will be whether the much-disputed Keystone XL pipeline will be completed under the new U.S. administration.

UBC-based energy expert Werner Antweiler suggests the dispute over that pipeline could mean a potential ramp-up from Ottawa putting a focus on wrapping up the link running from Alberta to Burnaby.

“It puts more emphasis on the completion of the trans mountain expansion for getting oil to tidewaters,” he says.

Antweiler adds, given the federal government is focusing on the completion pipeline it will only put more value into the project as the federal government attempts to sell the project eventually.

“They don’t want to be sitting on this project forever,” he says. “It may be positive news as there’s some competition between these two routes, and if it increases the value of the trans mountain line that’s probably actually not bad news for the federal government.”

The Trans Mountain project — which the feds took over in 2018 at a cost of 4.5 billion — is an expansion of an existing project.

And while it has run into sometimes stiff opposition by Indigenous and environmental groups, Antweiler says he believes Ottawa is keen to get the project finished quickly, then sell it off to try to recoup some of the 7-billion in cost-overruns the project has already run into.