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Economic, Resource

Indigenous groups still aim to buy Trans Mountain pipeline, even as costs soar

The Canadian Press
Indigenous groups still aim to buy Trans Mountain pipeline, even as costs soar

CALGARY, ALTA. – Indigenous-led groups say they remain committed to pursuing ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline, even as cost overruns for the pipeline expansion project soar.

The estimated construction costs of the pipeline expansion now sit at $21.4 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $12.6 billion. Because of previously signed shipper contracts, only 20 to 25 per cent of the increased costs can be passed on to oil companies in the form of tolls.

Nesika Services executive director Paul Poscente says that means the total available profits from the pipeline will shrink.

But he says his organization, which is working to help Indigenous communities acquire a stake in Trans Mountain, still sees commercial value in the project. He says Nesika is urging the federal government to begin a negotiation.

Another Indigenous-led entity, Project Reconciliation, says it too remains ready, willing and able to purchase the pipeline.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has said there will be no additional public funding for the pipeline. She says Trans Mountain Corp. will need to secure third-party funding to cover its ballooning capital costs.

©2022 The Canadian Press

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