Skip to content

An Energy East export port on the St. Lawrence River?

Late yesterday, TransCanada Corp. filed a preliminary project description of its 1.1 million barrels per day Energy East pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick with the National Energy Board.

Photo: Conceptual layout of the Cacouna Energy East Marine Terminal by TransCanada Corp.

There is a lot to analyze in the 240 pages of volume 1 and volume 2 of the project description. Council of Canadians energy campaigner Andrea Harden gave an initial assessment of the project description last night in her blog Two Year Countdown: TransCanada files Pre-Application for Energy East.

There will be a lot to dig into in these documents, but this caught my eye.

On page 52-53 in Part 1, the project description says, “The Cacouna marine terminal will be located on the eastern shore of the St. Lawrence River in the immediate vicinity of the existing Port of Gros-Cacouna, QC. The marine terminal will be developed to support the loading of crude carriers which have a capacity of 700,000 to 1.1 million barrels of oil through a two-berth arrangement and a single trestle. These carriers are known as ‘Aframax’ and ‘Suezmax’ respectively.”

Photo: A 900-foot long Suezmax tanker which can carry about 800,000 to more than 1,000,000 barrels of oil per ship.

As noted by Maritime Connector, Suezmax vessels “are designed to pass through the majority of the ports in the world”.

On November 30, 2013, CBC reported, “A beluga whale habitat near Rivière-du-Loup may be in jeopardy if plans go ahead for the Energy East pipeline. TransCanada wants to build a pipeline to ship oil from Alberta to refineries in Eastern Canada and put a port in Cacouna, just northeast of Rivière-du-Loup, to help get it there. But these plans put a port right in the middle of an at-risk beluga population.”

That article also noted, “Le Devoir reported this week that TransCanada also foresees using the pipeline and port to export oil to other countries.” That November 25th Le Devoir article can be found here.

The St. Lawrence River originates at the outflow of Lake Ontario and from there runs about 3,000 kilometres to the Atlantic Ocean. Cacouna is a municipality in the Rivière-du-Loup Regional County Municipality within the Bas-Saint-Laurent region of Quebec. It resides within the federal riding of Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, a seat held by NDP Member of Parliament François Lapointe. It is in the provincial riding of Rivière-du-Loup–Témiscouata, which is held by Liberal MNA Jean D’Amour.

A port on the St. Lawrence River to export tar sands crude to other countries?

That seems to be an option that TransCanada wants to have.