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TransCanada proposes pipeline to ship oil from west to east

Published Aug. 3, 2013

TransCanada Corp. plans to ship western Canadian oil to East Coast markets in Canada and the United States through a proposed new pipeline.

The company announced the $12 billion project as environmental protests and U.S. political delays continue to stall its proposed Keystone XL pipeline to carry crude to Texas from Alberta.

The Calgary-based company said the Energy East pipeline would deliver up to 1.1 million barrels of crude oil a day to Quebec by late 2017 and to New Brunswick a year later.

Plans call for converting a portion of TransCanada's underused natural gas main line to ship the oil to near the Quebec-Vermont border from Alberta.

There would be new pipe built to Saint John, New Brunswick, to feed Irving Oil's to-be-expanded refinery and ship overseas to energy-hungry markets such as India.

It would also allow shipments to refineries along the U.S. eastern seaboard, an 800,000-barrel-a-day market, as well as to Europe.

TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling called it "historic" for the company and Canada, comparing it to construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Trans-Canada Highway and the company's cross-country natural gas mainline.

The project will free eastern Canadian refineries from expensive oil imports from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Libya.

Environmentalists say they plan to challenge the proposal that requires Canadian government regulatory approval.

Police investigation of senator expands

Police have expanded their investigation into housing expense claims of Sen. Patrick Brazeau to include personal tax exemptions he claimed as a status Indian.

The former Conservative senator, who continues as an Independent, was earlier ordered to repay $48,000 and has been accused of breach of trust by filing allegedly inappropriate travel and housing claims.

The criminal probe is separate from the expenses' investigation and from charges of assault and sexual assault involving an incident at his house in Gatineau, Quebec.

As well, the investigation continues into housing and travel expense claims made by four other senators.

News in brief

• The scandal-plagued Ontario Liberal government managed to have two of its candidates elected in five by-elections Thursday to fill vacancies in the Legislature. Elected were Mitzie Hunter in Scarborough-Guildwood and John Fraser in Ottawa South. Peggy Sattler won for the New Democrats in London while Percy Hatfield was elected for the party in Windsor. Toronto Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday won for the Conservatives in Toronto's Etobicoke Lakeshore district.

• The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is conducting tests to find out exactly what cargo a runaway tanker train was carrying when it crashed last month, killing 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec. The unattended tanker cars rolled into the town and derailed, setting off massive explosions. The intensity seemed unusual for being only crude oil, board investigator Donald Ross said.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar was lower Friday at 96.28 cents U.S. while the U.S. greenback returned $1.0385 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index lower at 12,612 points and the TSX Venture index up at 923 points.

Lotto 6-49: (July 31) 5, 15, 30, 42, 46 and 49; bonus 35. (July 27) 3, 15, 17, 20, 27 and 43; bonus 30. Lotto Max: (July 26) 5, 9, 12, 18, 24, 35 and 42; bonus 17.

Regional briefs

• Ontario's Ombudsman Andre Marin has ordered an "assessment" into the police shooting death of Sammy Yatim, 18, in Toronto. The late-night incident after a disturbance on a streetcar was captured on surveillance and cellphone video and has sparked public outrage over police use of force. Marin said it's time to question whether the provincial government should review police de-escalation guidelines.

• There's an extreme fire danger rating in British Columbia's southern forests after a lack of rainfall. Environment Canada said no rain fell in Vancouver and Victoria throughout July, the first time since 1937. Vancouver had a record 411 hours of sunshine last month. A record dry spell in 2003 led to 2,400 wildfires across the province.

Jim Fox can be reached at