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REPORTING · 21st July 2010
Walter McFarlane
On Regular Meeting of City Council on Monday, July 5th, Kevin Brown and Michelle Perret took the stand representing Enbridge with Perret taking center stage. They wished to give Council an update on the Enbridge Project.

“In late May, I guess it’s been over a month now, we filed our application with the National Energy Board. The national Energy Board is reviewing it along with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. They’ve joined together with a memorandum of Understanding called a Joint Review Panel and there are three panellists who are supported by a large group of specialists which are reviewing the application and they along with other federal departments will be reviewing the application and aspects of the application and this process we anticipate will take quite a while,” said Perret.

She estimated the regulatory process would take until 2012, construction would begin, if successful, in 2013 and the pipeline would take 2 and a half 3 years to construct meaning it could be ready in 2016. She explained there would be two pipelines, one to import condensate.

Perret moved onto Marine safety explaining there were 8.4 million barrels a day being transported out of North America. She said they were committed to will make the project safer through radar, by setting the standards for the ships coming into the communities although she admitted they do this even though they do not own them, using BC marine pilots, tethered tugs, environmental monitoring in the areas ahead of the ship and exceeding the Canada Shipping Act.

“Enbridge is committed to ensure the safety of the pipeline,” said Perret. “The safety of the transportation of the crude through the pipeline is determined by some of the work that is being done right now, by determining the safest rout for the pipeline.”

She said the pipeline has already been re-routed to make sure it is safe. She added their was a lot of effort going into determining the water crossings were safe. “I think the main thing about the water crossings is the amount of detail that goes into determining the appropriate rout and the technique that is used. We have many water crossings that we have for this project from Edmonton to Kitimat and we have a gentleman who does a lengthy presentation going into great detail about the water crossings to ensure the safety of the water, of the fish habitat, of the soil,” Said Perret.

She added there would be people monitoring the pipeline for anything out of the ordinary, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They watch every aspect of the pipeline and can shut the pipeline down. She stated they also have a rapid response team who can shut the pipeline down. They also use methods within the pipeline to inspect the pipes. In addition the pipeline also has valves in appropriate locations such as water crossings. She stated they also use air patrols, relationships with local landowners to help find anomalies and by having operational standards reviewed by the National Energy Board.

Perret explained the benefits can be divided into regulatory, construction and operation phases. She said people focus on the construction phase because the numbers are larger then in the other two phases.

In the regulatory phase, the benefits come from the studies which are currently being done. This requires local equipment rentals and use of hotels and restaurants as people move across the land speaking with different groups.

During the construction phase, they will divide the pipe into construction spreads which vary from 90-150 km of pipeline with 600-800 working on the spreads. She explained there will be a survey team, a grading team, the trucks with the pipes, the bending team, the welding team, a team to dig the trench and the filling in of the ground.

She explained: then the pipe is filled with water and tested at pressures which are greater then the maximum operating pressure to ensure the pipeline’s integrity. The final team replants the area along the pipeline.

Perret said there would be 2000 to 3000 workers employed during the peak of this installation. She added there were many spin off jobs, supplies, accommodations, etc... Community would also have the ability to stockpile pipes. If the need for rooms exceeds the accommodations, they will work with communities to build construction camps. She added there would be $165 million tax revenue for BC, $114 million to Alberta and $912 million to Canada.

“From an operational standpoint, Kitimat will see the bulk of the jobs from this project because of the marine terminal. There will other jobs available from regional offices, pump stations, maintenance, operations and we anticipate from an indirect reduced estimate, approximately 560 jobs in BC,” said Perret.

She estimated the pipeline will bring in $58 Million dollars in property taxes in BC and Alberta. She said there would be long term community benefits. There were no more slides so she asked if the Councillors had any questions.

Councillor Richard McLaren wanted to know where the pipe would be coming from, such as overseas. Perret did not know and would be determined at a later stage. McLaren hoped if the pipe came from overseas, there would be room for assembly in Kitimat. Perret said it would most likely be transported by rail. They hoped to have local people involved in the construction but they would have to be appropriately trained.

“There are various levels of jobs associated with these construction jobs so there are some entry level labour jobs and there are some highly skilled pipeline jobs. From a stockpiling standpoint though the pipe will come in, have to be unloaded or at the port and it will have to be then transported and then a lot of labour involved in moving that pipe off the truck and put in the stockpile site. These are very well paying jobs and they do require… you think that it just sounds easy to load and unload a truck but it is not. It takes a very long time and those are the things we like to work with local communities to identify capacity,” said Perret.

Councillor Randy Halyk asked what a person year, a term Perret had used earlier in her presentation was. She answered it was a way economists look at numbers. A 4 month job is not a person year but three four month jobs is a person year. Halyk’s second question was how many BC workers there would be.

“We are definitely looking at local workers wherever possible, there are some skilled people but with respect to pipeline construction, who knows where they come from. I don’t know what license plate, they are a bit nomadic, they work on pipeline construction in North America. We’re internationally and those people would most likely be employed. In addition to that there are many jobs that would be associated with labour and other skilled jobs associated with electrician mechanics, welding that could be available from BC, Alberta, Ontario, wherever those guys are going to come from. Some of it is associated with skills, experience and the big one, interest,” said Perret.

Halyk if they would be hiring a company to manage the installation the pipeline. Perret replied she has been talking with a group but it depends on capacity availability and interest. His final question was about the property taxes, $36 per annum. She estimated $29 million annually in BC, she was unable to estimate the number Kitimat would get and hoped to have the answer but wanted to double check because it was a large number. Mayor Joanne Monaghan said she heard it would be $25 million a year. Perret said this was the same number she heard.

Councillor Rob Goffinet asked a good question about the direct and indirect jobs during the operational phase which Perret was unable to answer. She did say there would be 50-60 jobs in Kitimat and more in spin off jobs.

Councillor Bob Corless had a question. “The last time you folks started a pipeline here a few years ago, you went ahead and you took the pipeline down to Chicago. It seemed to me at the time you used us as a pawn. ‘We’ll ship our oil overseas if you don’t let us twin that pipeline.’ So now you’ve announced you would like to build a pipeline from the tar sands to Texas. I get the feeling that perhaps, that’s what we’re doing again here; you’re going to send it overseas if you don’t let us build that pipeline. Would I be wrong in thinking that?”

“I would think you are wrong in thinking that. The basis of the determination of which pipeline we are building is based on commercial aspect,” began Perret. She reflected on personal experience in the Alberta Clipper Project. She said it was the need to create new markets for Canadian goods such as crude. “The quick answer is that it is based on commercial interest,” said Perret.

Halyk wanted to know about emergency response to spills and the results of the TERMPOL process and what they found. Perret explained the TERMPOL process has already gone through their data and looked the risks associated with the project. She said there was a significant review of the operation with the marine operations. She said there would be double hulled vessels and a limit on age among other things vetted through a third party. If the ships did not meet those standards, they would not be allowed into port.

With that there were no further questions. Monaghan thanked them for coming and giving the Council the information.