Cost to build Coastal GasLink pipeline increases to $14.5 billion; TC Energy also building controversial pipeline in Mexico

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrest Wet’suwet’en Dzeke ze’ (chief) and land defender Freda Huson for her opposition to the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline being built on her territory without consent. Photo by Amanda Follett Hosgood.

The cost of the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline – being built by Calgary-based TC Energy on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia without free, prior and informed consent – continues to increase.

CBC reports: “Coastal’s costs are now up 30 per cent to C$14.5 billion, from the project’s previous estimate of C$11.2 billion, which was already raised by 70 per cent in July from the initial budget [of C$6.2 billion in 2018]. …Costs could increase by another C$1.2 billion if construction extends well into 2024, TC added.”

The article notes one of the reasons for increased costs is “poor work by contractors”. This is particularly worrisome as the company drills under Wedzin Kwa. The Canadian Press adds the company has experienced “unexpected events like drought conditions and erosion and sediment control challenges.”

One of the costs not factored into this is the public subsidy to the RCMP Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) that has repressed, harassed and criminalized Wet’suwet’en land defenders opposed to the pipeline. The C-IRG has received more than $27.6 million since 2018 for this intervention on Wet’suwet’en territory.

PBI-Canada is organizing a webinar on Tuesday February 21 to help amplify the call for the abolition of the C-IRG. To register for that, click here.

TC Energy to sell some assets to pay for CGL pipeline

Reuters also reports: “TC is looking to sell C$5 billion worth of assets this year to raise funds to repay debt and pay for projects including Coastal.”

In December, Reuters noted: “The sales may reassure the market that TC will not need to issue common equity to raise funds in light of Coastal’s cost over-runs and a deal in August to develop a $4.5 billion pipeline in Mexico, RBC analyst Robert Kwan said.”

Opposition to TC Energy in Mexico

The “$4.5 billion pipeline” refers to the TC Energy Southeast Gateway Pipeline (Gasoducto Puerta al Sureste), announced in August 2022, that will carry 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas and serve as an additional power source for the new state-owned Pemex Olmeca Dos Bocas oil refinery in Paraiso, Tabasco state.

By September 2023, that refinery is expected to process 340,000 barrels per day of crude oil and yield 280,000 barrels per day of gasoline and diesel.

Bnamericas has reported: “In a letter signed by 18 civil society organizations, including Greenpeace México, and coordinated by the Mexican center for environmental law (CEMDA), the group said the project posed a ‘grave risk’ of environmental damage, given that the pipeline route passes through the gulf’s 600km southwestern coral reef corridor.”

The PBI-Mexico accompanied People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water of Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala signed the letter against this pipeline.

Nahua land defender Miryam Vargas Teutle with the Peoples Front in Defence of Land and Water in Morelos, Puebla, Tlaxcala (FPDTA).

TC Energy has five fully owned pipelines currently operating in Mexico and is the largest Canadian investor in Mexico.

One of those pipelines is the Encino-Topolobampo pipeline that was successfully resisted by the San Elías Repechique Forest community who fought for the pipeline to be rerouted away from the ancestral territory of the Rarámuri in Chihuahua.

The PBI-Mexico accompanied Community Technical Consultancy, A.C. (CONTEC) supported the community in its opposition to this pipeline.

Rarámuri land defender Teresa González Parra.

TC Energy was also building the stalled Tuxpan-Tula pipeline resisted by the Otomi peoples because it would cross the sacred hills of the Pahuatlán region in the state of Puebla.

In December 2021, the research team that prepared Territories of water: defense of community areas and the shared history of their peoples (before the Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline) presented this report to the Otomi, Nahua and Tepehua communities grouped together as the Regional Council of Indigenous Peoples in Defense of the Territory of Puebla and Hidalgo.

At that time, Des Informemonos reported: “The people of the Regional Council accepted and celebrated the document, and pledged to continue their fight, and eventually to establish links with the Wet’suwet’en communities that resist TC-Energy in Canada.”

We continue to follow this situation.

Photo: On April 23-24, 2022, PBI-Mexico accompanied the conclusion of the Caravan for Water and Life in the Nahuatl community of Cuentepec. The caravan/march that expressed opposition to the TC Energy Tuxpan-Tula gas pipeline was launched at the National Meeting of Struggles Against Gas Pipelines and Death Projects in January 2022 (a gathering that was also accompanied by PBI-Mexico).

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