Indigenous Group Seeks Ownership Of Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline

Project Reconciliation, a Canadian indigenous group, is aiming to gain full ownership of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline.

Canada’s federal government bought Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion in 2018 after the company threatened to end the line’s expansion amid fierce environmental opposition. Alberta’s oil sands industry badly needs more conduits to export its crude oil, and many people hoped that indigenous participation would help quell objections to the project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has said that it will sell its ownership in Trans Mountain once the expansion is completed and de-risked and is open to indigenous participation. The government is currently engaged in consultations with indigenous communities.

Project Reconciliation is among several indigenous groups that formed more than two years ago to seek a stake in Canada’s only oil pipeline system that delivers crude oil from Alberta to the west coast.

Project Reconciliation had previously sought no more than a 51% stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. Now it is seeking 75% with the option to eventually own 100% of the pipeline, the group said in a written statement.

Project Reconciliation said it wants to use pipeline revenues to start a sovereign wealth fund to support indigenous communities, which often suffer from high levels of poverty. Another indigenous group seeking ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline is the Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, which is based in British Columbia.