TransCanada files application for Energy East pipeline with National Energy Board

Massive pipeline could lead to thousands of full-time jobs in New Brunswick during development and construction phase

It’s happened.

TransCanada Corp. filed its project application for the proposed $12 billion Energy East pipeline with the National Energy Board today.

The massive project will be 4,600 kilometres long and cross six provinces, ending in Saint John, New Brunswick.

To mark the occasion, Calgary-based TransCanada held press conferences in Toronto and Quebec City to talk about the project and answer questions from the media.

The pipeline, if it’s approved and built, will transport 1.1 million barrels per day of oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Montreal and Levis, Quebec as well as to Irving Oil’s refinery in Saint John.

The pipeline would also ship oil to a proposed marine terminal in Cacouna, Quebec, and TransCanada and Irving Oil have formed a joint venture to build, own and operate a new terminal in Saint John.

It’s no secret that New Brunswick’s economy could use some good news, and political and business leaders in the province have been showing Energy East a lot of love since TransCanada went public with its plan to build the thing 18 months ago.

Just last week, New Brunswick’s new premier Brian Gallant visited Alberta and held hands with Alberta Premier Jim Premier (just joking, people!) as he made it clear his new government was head over heels in love with the Energy East project.

However, during today’s press conference, New Brunswick barely came up – and wouldn’t have gotten mentioned at all if not for a question asked by one reporter about the economic impact the project will have on the province. TransCanada president and CEO Russ Girling and other members of the company’s senior management focused most of their attention on what the project means for Ontario and Quebec.

Anyway, here are a few of the big numbers from the Energy East project – as they pertain to the New Brunswick economy.

  • 2,300 full-time jobs created during the development and construction phase
  • 156 full-time jobs created during the operations phase
  • A gross domestic product impact of $3 billion during the pipeline’s first 20 years of operation

The amount of full-time jobs the pipeline would create in New Brunswick after it’s built is no hell, but the province will take it anyway.

Now all they need is for the project to get approved and built. That will take some time, by the way. Girling said he expects the NEB’s review to take 18 months to complete.

And it’s not exactly a slam dunk that Energy East will get built. While it hasn’t received the attention or opposition more high profile pipeline projects like TransCanada’s Keystone XL, and rival Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway have, that’s sure to change now that the review of Energy East has begun.

If opposition gets too noisy, will TransCanada still go ahead with Energy East if the NEB approves it?

Pipeline proponents in New Brunswick best be prepared for a wild, bumpy ride on their Energy East journey over the next year-and-a-half.

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