The federal government has approved Enbridge Inc.’s $9.5 billion oil and gas pipeline project, which would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands to Alberta.
The approval was approved by the National Energy Board (NEB) on Monday and is subject to conditions.
The pipeline would carry a total of 790,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) to an estimated 4,000 kilometres of new pipeline to link the oilsands to the Gulf Coast.
The NEB said the approval comes after the agency assessed Enbridge about a dozen factors including environmental impacts, costs and the environmental impact of the project, including impacts to wildlife and the environment.
The pipeline would run from a reservoir near Calgary, Alberta, to the proposed Enbridge hub in Edmonton, the pipeline would also cross the St. Lawrence River and would have a total length of 1,150 kilometres.
It would be built on land owned by Enbridge, with a $2.5-billion price tag.
The Alberta government is expecting the pipeline to be built by 2024, after Enbridge and a joint venture partner signed a long-term agreement in January.
“We’re proud of the NEB’s decision, which provides Alberta with an investment in the long-awaited Enbridge Pipeline,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a statement.
“The approval is an important step forward for our economy and our communities, and we look forward to a successful partnership in the years ahead.”
The project is set to be Alberta’s biggest project, with about 4,500 jobs and about $2 billion in economic impact.
The NEB has said that the pipeline will bring about 4% of the province’s energy to Alberta by 2030, more than double the province had expected.
The government’s approval means the pipeline is now subject to environmental assessment and is required to undergo safety reviews and to obtain the necessary permits to proceed.
The project will be built under the jurisdiction of Enbridge in Edmonton.
The company is also expected to file for an oil sands export license with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which will ensure that all oil sands pipelines in the province are compliant with environmental requirements.
Enbridge says the pipeline won’t affect its ability to export oil from Alberta’s oilsands.
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said it was disappointed with the NEb’s decision.
“This approval is a significant step backwards for Alberta and the nation,” said Brad Friesen, the group’s president and CEO.
“While Enbridge is in agreement with all of the requirements, it is important to note that the approval of the pipeline complies with all federal and provincial environmental and safety requirements.”
The federal government’s decision will allow the company to apply for an export license to export Alberta’s oil to foreign markets, which could help lower prices for consumers and companies.