What's Kinder Morgan's Real End Game?

Klein, Seth
Date Written:  2018-04-16
Publisher:  Corporate Mapping Project
Year Published:  2018
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22205

An ultimatum has been imposed by Texas based Energy Infrastructure company, Kinder Morgan,that they will cancel the Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension at the end of May 2018 unless clarity is provided by the government. Klein argues that Kinder Morgan knows that the pipeline is already doomed, due to external economic factors and Indigenous opposition.



Here's a different take on Kinder Morgan's ultimatum and the so-called "constitutional crisis" it has sparked. I'm speculating, of course, as we all seek to understand what Kinder Morgan is really up to. But allow me to posit a minority theory:

We're getting played!

It is entirely possible that Kinder Morgan has already decided to cut its losses and walk away from the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) -- and not for the reasons they are telling their shareholders or the public. It may well be that the May 31 deadline is merely for show, and the Texas-based corporation has already determined the project is not feasible both for economic reasons and due to profound Indigenous and popular opposition.

The economics of the project have been on shaky ground for some time, as the CCPA has extensively documented. Particularly since the Trump administration's revival of the Keystone XL project, and with the approval of Enbridge's Line 3 expansion, the industry's need for TMX pipeline capacity has been undercut (which helped to kill the Energy East proposal). The temporary gap in oil prices internationally compared to in North America is now largely gone, undercutting the case for Pacific "tidewater" access. And the higher costs of extracting, refining and transporting oil sands bitumen further erodes the economics. I testified before the federal government's Ministerial Panel on Kinder Morgan in 2016 and sought to debunk the economic arguments made in favour of the pipeline expansion.

Layered onto the dubious economics are the growing protests, but most significantly, Indigenous opposition.

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