Canada to buy Kinder Morgan pipeline project assets

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OTTAWA-Canada on Tuesday struck a multibillion deal with Kinder Morgan Inc.to take ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline project in a bid to save the project.

Morneau presented the options during an early-morning cabinet meeting Tuesday before ministers signed off on the chosen option, which comes just days before the company's self-imposed May 31 deadline and is still subject to the approval of Kinder Morgan shareholders.

The "agreement will help advance Canada as an energy leader, as a place where good projects get built", Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said.

"Our government believes that the commercial agreement we have reached with Kinder Morgan is the best way to protect thousands of good, well-paying jobs", Finance Minister Bill Morneau said.

The plan announced Tuesday has several stages - construction will continue this year with a Federal loan guarantee as the deal is finalized; the government will look for a new owner or owners to transfer the project to; and then "indemnify" the owner against certain costs.

The purchase will be financed by Export Development Canada and includes; the pipeline, pumping stations, the marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C. and rights of way along the pipeline between Edmonton and Vancouver.

A new Crown corporation will manage the project.

There has been intense opposition towards the project from environmental groups and some Indigenous communities in B.C.

The government has said it is willing to cover the costs of budget overruns on the pipeline caused by political interference from British Columbia, but the company has not yet indicated if that will be enough to convince it to put shovels in the ground.

The project faces fierce opposition from the government of British Columbia (BC) and environmentalists.

Analysts have said China is eager to get access to Canada's oil, but largely gave up hope that a pipeline to the Pacific coast would be built.

"In a single mandate, Justin Trudeau transformed from a climate champion into a Big Oil CEO", said Aurore Fauret, a campaigner with 350.org.

Ottawa is pressing ahead, firmly of the opinion there is no doubt about its jurisdiction.

Canada approved the project in November 2016, following an expanded environmental review process that included additional consultations with Indigenous communities and assessing the amount of additional emissions likely to result from additional production.

Editor's note: This article was updated with additional quotes and background at 11:05 a.m. on May 29, 2018.

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