Canada's natural resources minister says there's no guarantee that Ottawa can reach a deal with Kinder Morgan to keep the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project alive.
"There's no certainty in these things. Pipeline politics, as you know, are not straight," Jim Carr told CBC Radio's The House Friday.
Ottawa is in talks with the company to find a way forward on the $7.4 billion pipeline expansion project connecting Alberta's oilpatch with the B.C. coast.
The B.C. government of NDP Premier John Horgan, which opposes the project, is pursuing a court reference action to get a legal ruling on whether it has the power to restrict any increase in the amount of diluted bitumen that moves across its border.
In response, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley's government recently passed a law that will allow it to choke off the supply of fuel to B.C. — a pressure tactic that led B.C. to sue Alberta in response.
As tensions between the neighbouring provinces grew, Kinder Morgan announced it would cease all non-essential spending on the project. It said that if the political uncertainty over the project isn't resolved by May 31, it would seek to abandon the expansion completely.
In an effort to reassure Kinder Morgan, Finance Minister Bill Morneau recently announced the federal government is prepared to compensate the pipeline's backers for any financial loss due to British Columbia's attempts to obstruct the project.
"We will make the case that the risk has been dealt with," Carr said.
Meanwhile, Carr said Ottawa doesn't want to see Alberta restrict exports of oil and gas to B.C.
"No one wants this to happen," he said. "There are politics in these provinces that are influencing the way the leaders of those provinces are acting."
The federal government's only goal is to see the project proceed, he added. And though the pipeline falls under federal jurisdiction, he said, the path forward appears to have been stalled by Kinder Morgan's response to B.C.'s tactics.
"I believe that the British Columbia government has added layers of uncertainty to the project," Carr concluded.