Canada regulator issues draft conditions in oil pipeline review

FILE PHOTO: A man enters the National Energy Board building in Calgary, Alberta, Canada March 24, 2015. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canada’s energy regulator released draft revisions of conditions and new recommendations on Thursday as part of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion re-review, ordered last year after a Canadian court overturned the approval of the project.

The National Energy Board proposed amendments to existing conditions related to marine safety and mammal protection, and introduced 13 new draft recommendations for comment. A final report is due by Feb. 22.

Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal last year overturned the 2016 approval of the Trans Mountain expansion, which would nearly triple capacity on the line from Alberta’s oil heartland to the British Columbia coast, ruling the original review was wrongly excluded the impact of additional marine traffic.

The court also ruled that Ottawa failed to adequately consider aboriginal concerns in its approval of the project.

The project is opposed by a number of aboriginal and environmental groups, while producers and oil-rich provinces say it is desperately needed to get Canadian crude to market, particularly lucrative new markets in Asia.

The Canadian government brought the pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd KML.TO last year, hoping to ensure the construction of the multi-billion dollar expansion, but it has instead become a liability for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of a federal elections later this year.

The original approval included 157 mandatory conditions that had to be met for construction to go ahead.

Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver; editing by Grant McCool