FREDERICTON – TransCanada’s decision to go ahead with only one eastern port in their plan for the Energy East Pipeline has the New Brunswick government hopeful it will have a positive impact for the province.
TransCanada had originally wanted to connect Canadian crude to overseas customers through two marine terminals – the Canaport Energy East facility planned for Saint John, and another in Cacouna, Que.
In April, TransCanada cancelled their plan for the Cacouna port because of environmental concerns stemming from a beluga whale habitat.
READ MORE: TransCanada nixes export terminal in Quebec for Energy East Pipeline
“In our analysis of other potential sites, looking at it as an environmental question but also as an economic and commercial one, we arrived at the conclusion that Energy East is the best project it can be by having only one marine terminal,” said Tim Duboyce, a TransCanada spokesperson.
WATCH: TransCanada has scrapped plans to build a port for its Energy East Pipeline project in Quebec.
So, what does that mean for New Brunswick – and Quebec?
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard told The Associated Press in June that he doesn’t see much economic benefit for Quebec if his province is simply a “transit place” for oilsands crude making its way to the East Coast.
READ MORE: Brian Gallant confident in Energy East despite Couillard’s concerns
Duboyce says the economic benefits for Quebec are “plain to see.”
“There are two refineries in Quebec right now that are currently dependent on more expensive, imported oil because they don’t have pipeline capacity to bring them Canadian crude oil,” he said.
Duboyce also mentioned the company’s decision to build a corporate office in Montreal. The office has gone from four employees to 15, and could see up to 40.
“Above and beyond that, once this pipeline goes into operation we will be spending a $100 million per year in Quebec on electricity bills, on municipal taxes, on our own operational costs,” he said.
He also said the all-new pipeline construction will bring thousands of jobs to both Quebec and New Brunswick.
READ MORE: TransCanada Cacouna oil terminal construction stops over belugas
Pipeline project a “good thing” for province
Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault says there are over 250 N.B. contractors who’ve registered with TransCanada, hoping to be a part of the supply chain.
Arseneault says he say this decision as a “good thing” for the province.
“There’s no doubt without a terminal in other parts and only having one terminal, there’s no doubt that has an impact and I would say a positive impact on the province of New Brunswick,” he said.
“But at the same time we understand that other jurisdictions may raise concerns and we have to work with them to overcome those concerns.”
He said he has reached out to new federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to go over any concerns he might have.
“We want to start that relationship building and if they do have any concerns that we can address them early on instead of down the road,” he said.
Duboyce said he expects the National Energy Board’s (NEB) hearings will begin sometime in 2016. The NEB will then file a report with recommendations to the federal government in 2017.
If the company gets approval, construction will begin in 2018 with an in-service date in 2020.
READ MORE: Pipeline would stress whales: environmental group