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Could the Energy East pipeline be extended to Cape Breton Island?

San Antonio, Texas-based NuStar Energy LP is seeking to have the Energy East pipeline extended an additional 500 kilometres from Saint John, New Brunswick to their Strait of Canso terminal and storage facilities in Point Tupper, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Point Tupper, Cape Breton Island

The company has been in conversation with TransCanada and the provincial government of Nova Scotia about this. The province’s Liberal energy minister Andrew Younger says that he sees the benefit of the company exporting Alberta crude oil from Cape Breton.

The Chronicle Herald reports, “NuStar is (also) considering building a railcar off-loading facility (within a 9-12 month period) at its petroleum storage terminal. NuStar wants to ship western Canadian crude by rail to its Point Tupper facility, where it would be loaded onto tankers bound for refineries globally.”

Energy East

At 1.1 million barrels per day, the Energy East pipeline would be bigger than the Keystone XL pipeline (830,000 bpd), the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (from its current 300,000 bpd to 890,000 bpd), and the Northern Gateway pipeline (525,000 bpd). According to a Pembina Institute study, Energy East would lead to the creation of 30 million to 32 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. It is expected that TransCanada will seek approval from the National Energy Board for the pipeline this summer. The portion of the Energy East pipeline to Quebec could be converted by 2017, the pipeline extension to New Brunswick could be completed and operational by 2018.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has commented, “The Energy East pipeline would pose serious threats to local water supplies and communities along the route. The option then to export to the much larger and more profitable markets of India, China and Europe with massive tankers from the deep water port is also a major concern of ours. …This pipeline is not being proposed because TransCanada has suddenly discovered that Atlantic Canada imports its oil.”