Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. (KML) remains invested in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta, but the path forward for the company’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project is still unclear, CEO Steven Kean said Wednesday.
KML announced last week its decision to suspend nonessential spending, saying it would not put additional capital at risk.
During the 1Q2018 earnings call, in which Kean discussed results for KML and parent Kinder Morgan Inc., he told investors that as he said last week, “it's become clear this particular investment may be untenable for a private party to undertake. The events of the last 10 days have confirmed those views. We pointed out there are significant differences between governments, and those differences are outside of our ability to resolve.”
KML is continuing its stakeholder discussions until May 31, and “looking for a way forward on the project,” Kean said. The Calgary unit set the firm deadline for the federal, Alberta and BC governments to tear down barricades against the C$7.4 billion ($5.9 billion) plan to triple capacity on the line to Vancouver from Edmonton to 590,000 b/d.
“If we cannot reach agreement by May 31, it is difficult to conceive of any scenario in which we would proceed with the project,” Kean had said last week. “The time period for reaching a potential resolution is short, but necessarily so because of approaching construction windows, the time required to mobilize contractors, and the need to commit materials orders.”
Trans Mountain faces opposition by environmentalists, natives and BC’s left-leaning New Democratic Party government as a growth-enabling conduit for Pacific coast exports of Alberta thermal oilsands production, Canada’s top consumer of natural gas. Opposition has escalated beyond appeals to the courts, which have to date upheld the project’s approvals by the National Energy Board (NEB) and the federal cabinet.
“There has to be a way to build through BC, and there has to be a way to protect our shareholders, and we are in discussions, and those are the principles that we will be looking to preserve,” Kean said.
About C$1.1 billion ($880 million) has been spent on the Trans Mountain project so far, with nearly $550 million spent by KMI before it launched KML through a public offering last year.
As for earnings, KML reported net income of C$44.4 million ($35.17 million) for the first quarter, down from $46.8 million in the year-ago period when it was still part of KMI. KMI reported net income of $485 million (22 cents/share), versus $401 million (18 cents) in 1Q2017.