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Varcoe: Ho hum, another win for Trans Mountain — but still no pipeline 1,010 days ...

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25.02.2019

When the National Energy Board first approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in 2016, Alberta’s energy minister equated it to a baseball batter getting a hit, putting a runner into scoring position.

However, a federal court ruling last August put the project into limbo, the baseball equivalent of seeing the runner get tagged out after stepping off second base.

On Friday, the NEB issued another positive ruling that could put the long-delayed development back into play.

But I wouldn’t bet on it just yet.

If there’s one lesson to learn in the world of Canadian pipeline politics, it’s that the regulator’s word isn’t the final one.

It’s the last legal decision that matters most.

For the country’s beleaguered energy sector, what matters most today is that pipe is actually put into the ground, not that another hurdle has been cleared.

“You’ve got to see oil flowing through the pipeline,” said Brian Schmidt, CEO of Tamarack Valley Energy.

“I’m not jumping for joy. It’s significant, but we need to see a little bit more (progress) before I could go to my investors and say, ‘Canada is open for business now.’ ”

Such skepticism permeates Canada’s oilpatch today.

A morass of regulatory and legal failures, from the demise of Northern Gateway and Energy East to the incessant troubles with the Trans Mountain expansion (TMX), cloud any lasting optimism.

As the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors........

© Fort McMurray Today