An eye-popping 70 per cent increase in the projected price tag for the Trans Mountain expansion was met Friday by jeers from environmental groups and a pledge from the federal government to put no additional public money toward the project.
But Canada’s oil and gas industry remains staunchly behind a project it says remains essential to the national interest, in spite of newly disclosed budget overruns that peg the new cost of the Trans Mountain expansion at $21.4 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $12.6 billion.
“We remain fully supportive of this world-class infrastructure project which is vital to Canada’s long-term economic success and energy security,” said Suncor Energy Inc. chief executive Mark Little, in a statement released just hours after federal Crown corporation Trans Mountain Corp. released its new cost projections for the project.
“While no one wants to see cost increases, they are often a fact of life with projects of this size and in this case were largely beyond Trans Mountain’s control,” said Alex Pourbaix, CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc., in a separate statement.
The 1,150 km Trans Mountain pipeline carries 300,000 barrels of oil per day, and is Canada’s only pipeline system transporting oil from Alberta to the West Coast.
Its expansion, for which construction is currently underway, will essentially twin the existing pipeline, raising daily output to 890,000 barrels to support Canadian crude oil production growth and ensure access to global energy markets.
Trans Mountain was bought by the federal government for $4.5 billion in 2018, after previous owner Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. threatened to scrap the pipeline’s planned expansion project in the face of environmentalist opposition.
On Friday, Trans Mountain Corp. blamed the surging cost projections for the project on the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the November 2021 flooding in British Columbia, as well as project enhancements, increased security costs, route changes to avoid culturally and environmentally sensitive areas, and scheduling pressures related to permitting processes and construction challenges in difficult terrain.
The company also pushed back the projected completion date to the third quarter of 2023. The pipeline expansion was originally expected to be complete sometime this year.
Following the company’s update, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Trans Mountain Corp. will need to secure third-party funding to complete the project, either through banks or public debt markets.
“I want to assure Canadians there will be no additional public funding for TMC,” Freeland told reporters in Ottawa, adding the government has engaged BMO Capital Markets and TD Securities to provide financial advice on the project and has been assured by both parties that the project remains commercially viable.
Freeland said the federal government still believes the Trans Mountain expansion is a “serious and necessary project.”
“This project is in the national interest and will make Canada and the Canadian economy more sovereign and more resilient,” she said.
Oil and gas industry representatives were quick to defend Trans Mountain on Friday, arguing the project’s operators have been hit by a whammy of misfortune they could not have predicted — everything from supply chain and inflation issues triggered by COVID-19 to weather-related catastrophes like wildfires and flooding.
“It’s very easy to just look at the numbers and look at the figures, but you have to actually put it in context,” said Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada. “Overall, we’re actually still very confident that this is moving in the right direction.”
B.C. floods: Shutdown of TMX pipeline could impact gas supplies
But environmentalists were quick to use words like “white elephant” and “boondoggle.” Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada pointed out that this is not the first time the budget for the Trans Mountain expansion has ballooned — back in 2015, Kinder Morgan estimated the project would cost $5.4 billion, and that rose to $7.4 billion in 2017 just before the Trudeau government bought it.
“This project was crazy from a climate perspective when it was supposed to cost $7.4 billion, but at $21.4 billion and rising it is now economic madness,” Stewart said.
Sven Biggs, Canadian oil and gas program director for Stand.earth, said the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is a threat to the climate and the federal government should cancel it.
“Ironically, the latest delays (to project construction) were caused in large part by the recent flooding in B.C., which has been linked to climate change,” Biggs said in an emailed statement.
Spiraling construction costs mean more borrowing and higher interest costs, which will make the pipeline less profitable to an eventual buyer, said Richard Masson, executive fellow with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy.
That’s a problem, Masson said, because the federal government has indicated it does not want to be the long-term owner of the pipeline. On Friday, Freeland said the government will launch a divestment process later this year.
A number of Indigenous-led initiatives have already come forward saying they will seek an equity stake in the project.
Masson added that while Canada’s energy industry can get by without the added pipeline capacity for now, thanks to the addition of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement project that came online last fall, the Trans Mountain expansion is still sorely needed in the long-term.
TransMountain pipeline opponents set up rail blockade in Vancouver
The newly announced budget overruns and cost increases, he said, are just the latest example of how difficult it is to complete major infrastructure projects in this country.
“Canada’s got a lot of resources, the world needs our resources, but we’re just having so much trouble actually developing them in a cost-effective way,” Masson said.
Also on Friday, Trans Mountain Corp. announced the retirement of president and CEO Ian Anderson, effective April 1.
“Ian led a project that continues to progress while setting new standards for major pipeline project execution, including unprecedented levels of involvement from Indigenous Peoples and communities,” board chair William Downe said in a news release.
Anderson, who has been with Trans Mountain and its predecessor companies for 40 years, was previously president of Kinder Morgan Canada.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
More than 1,000 associates to be hired across Canada in seasonal, part-time and full-time positions to help make Back to School simply amazing
Richmond Hill, ON, May 17, 2022 – Staples Canada, The Working and Learning Company, has launched a national hiring campaign to fill more than 1,000 positions in stores, supply chain, contact centres, sales teams, print and tech hubs, as well as corporate roles. All open roles are posted at careers.staples.ca with in-person and virtual interviews available at the different locations.
“The back to school season is the most exciting time of year for Staples associates – it’s a time where we get to connect with our customers to enable their success, and inspire them for months to come,” said Wanda Walkden, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer, Staples Canada. “We’re invested in bringing in the best and brightest talent to inspire our customers and our communities, while also helping our associates further their own development and growth.”
Staples currently employs more than 11,000 associates across Canada within a variety of roles and locations. The company has presence in every province and the Northwest and Yukon territories. All locations are looking to fill a variety of roles.
Joining Staples comes with a number of benefits, which include:
· Associate support: Staples offers extensive wellness benefits that are designed to support the physical, mental and financial well-being of associates. These include an employee and family assistance program, retirement savings plans with an employer match, performance bonuses, associate discounts, and more.
· Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Staples is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse work environment where each associate can bring their whole authentic self to work. Staples associates can join Business Resources Groups; groups that are by associates for associates and focus on various DE&I initiatives through partnerships, awareness and education.
· Learning and development opportunities: At Staples, learning and development is a priority for all associates, with many opportunities for cross-department training, and leadership development programs in place to aid professional growth.
- Educational support: Each year, scholarships are awarded through the Staples Canada Annual Academic Scholarship Program to associates or children of associates attending post-secondary education. The company also offers tuition reimbursement for full-time associates to further their education.
- Ability to make an impact: Each year, Staples associates partner with organizations like MAP, and take on local charitable giving initiatives including the School Supply Drive during back to school, as a continued commitment to communities across Canada.
All 300+ stores and Supply Chain, Contact Centres, Sales Teams, Print and Tech Hubs and, Corporate locations across Canada are participating in the national hiring campaign; visit careers.staples.ca to learn more and find the perfect job near you.
Staples Canada is The Working and Learning Company. With a focus on community, inspiration and services, the privately-owned company is committed to being a dynamic, inspiring partner to customers who visit its 300+ locations and staples.ca. The company has two brands that support business customers, Staples Preferred for small businesses and Staples Professional for medium to large-sized enterprises, as well as six co-working facilities in Toronto, Kelowna, Oakville and Ottawa under the banner Staples Studio. Staples Canada is a proud partner of MAP through its Even the Odds campaign, which aims to tackle inequities in communities across Canada and helps make a future that’s fair for everyone. Visit staples.ca for more information or get social with @StaplesCanada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
– 30 –
Kathleen Stelmach, Staples Canada, 905-737-1147 Ext. 578, email@example.com
Noah Gomberg, Golin, 647-475-4721, NGomberg@golin.com
Gas prices set to drop in the GTA – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Drivers are set to get some relief at the pumps as gas prices are set to drop 13 cents per litre by Friday.
Average gas prices hit $209.9 per litre on Wednesday in southern Ontario, marking a new record high and a whopping 12-cent rise since last Friday.
However, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says prices are set to drop three cents to 206.9 per litre as of midnight and then 10 another 10 cents to 196.9 per litre by Friday.
McTeague said that the drop in prices is being driven by the unease of global markets over a potential recession.
Prices at the pumps have been elevated since late February due to fuel supply shortages amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been imposed as a result of the war.
Natural Resources Canada said the average price for regular gasoline in Canada hit $2.06 per litre on Monday, with the most expensive price in Vancouver at $2.34 a litre.
On Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported that the annual inflation rate rose 6.8 per cent year-over year in April. The national agency added that Canadian drivers paid 36.3 per cent more for gas in April compared to a year ago.
-With files from The Canadian Press
Stock markets sell off as inflation fears settle in – CBC News
Stock markets were a sea of red on Wednesday as financial results from major retailers suggested they’re having a hard time dealing with stubbornly high inflation.
The S&P 500 was down by more than four per cent, its worst one-day showing since June 2020 as investors reacted to troubling signs that consumers are slowing their spending in the face of high prices.
Shares in Target shed more than 25 per cent of their value after the retailer said its profit was cut in half because of higher costs and supply chain problems. It was the worst day for Target’s shares since Black Monday in 1987, and it came a day after rival Walmart painted a similar picture the day before.
Walmart’s shares fell by more than 11 per cent on Tuesday and another seven per cent on Wednesday, after the retailer warned of lower profits to come due to higher costs for transportation and wages, as well as supply chain issues. Tuesday’s sell-off was also the biggest one-day plunge in Walmart shares since 1987.
That gloom coming from two cost-conscious retailers sparked investor fears that if they are having problems navigating high inflation, many others must be, too.
“The strength of the consumer will be tested as both Walmart and Target signal rising pricing pressures are not easing,” analyst Edward Moya with foreign exchange firm Oanda said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed almost 1,200 points or more than three per cent and the technology focused Nasdaq lost more than 500 points or more than four per cent.
Since the start of the year, the Dow is down by 14 per cent, the S&P by 18 per cent and the Nasdaq by 28 per cent, data from Bloomberg shows.
“Stocks are crumbling after Wall Street worries about economic growth after hearing a chorus of concerns of higher prices that won’t be easing anytime soon,” Moya said.
Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the country’s inflation rate ticked upwards again last month, to a new 31-year high of 6.8 per cent.
While the Toronto Stock Exchange fared better than its U.S. counterparts, it wasn’t immune to the sell-off, losing 389 points, or about two per cent, to close as just over 20,100 points late in the trading day. The benchmark Canadian index has lost about seven per cent of its value since the start of the year, and has been mostly lower of late since topping out at over 22,000 points in April.
“It’s a really rough day out there for stock markets,” Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, said in an interview with CBC News.
“The retailers in particular are starting to get squeezed between rising costs and softening demand,” he said. “We’ve just been seeing a stampede for the exits across stock markets today.”
Tech shares hit hard
Technology shares, which soared earlier in the pandemic as the world went increasingly digital and online due to COVID-19 lockdowns, continue to get hammered.
Apple shares lost six per cent to trade at their lowest level since October. Amazon shares lost seven per cent and the shares are now trading where they were in April 2020. Netflix lost another seven per cent and now trade at their lowest level since 2018.
Canadian tech companies also sold off, with shares in e-commerce firm Shopify, payment processing company Lightspeed and BlackBerry all off by about three per cent.
Cieszynski said the sell-off in technology shares makes sense, because the sector “tends to benefit … when investors are feeling confident and when investors are willing to take on risk.”
“At a time when investors are are retrenching, turning away from risk and going more defensive, [technology] tends to underperform,” he said.
Bitcoin dips below $30,000
Bitcoin was no exception as the world’s largest cryptocurrency continued its plunge, losing another five per cent to trade below $30,000 US for the first time since 2021.
“The speculative cryptocurrency excesses of 2021 may mark a similar fate for risk assets, as when the internet bubble burst in 2000,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone said.
Today’s ‘Wordle’ Word Of The Day #334 Answer And Hint: Thursday, May 19th – Forbes
Jonathan Haskel on fixing the intangible economy and restarting the future – The Hub
Huawei unveils new foldable phone, smartwatches, fitness band: All the details – Times of India
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Tech24 hours ago
Apple iOS 15.5 Release: Should You Upgrade? – Forbes
News6 hours ago
China has lifted a 3-year ban on Canadian canola, Ottawa says – CBC News
Tech12 hours ago
Wordle Word Today 19, May 2022: Wordle Word Hints and Today's Answer – Landscape Insight
News19 hours ago
Russia closing CBC's Moscow bureau in retaliation for Canada banning Russian state TV – CBC.ca
Business4 hours ago
Media7 hours ago
How Will Remote Work Effect The Media Industry – Forbes
Health18 hours ago
Monkeypox outbreak spreads in Europe as U.K., Portugal confirm cases – CBC News
Tech13 hours ago
Sony Reveals Vision for the Metaverse – Push Square