May 16, 2018 / 3:07 AM / a year ago

Canadian government to brief media on oil pipeline aid, no decision yet

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Finance Minister Bill Morneau walks through his office to hold a news conference on the state of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau will brief reporters on Wednesday about talks with Kinder Morgan Canada (KML.TO) on possible aid for an oil pipeline project but will not be announcing a final decision, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Ottawa says it is prepared to offer financial support to ensure the company proceeds with a planned expansion of its Trans Mountain line from oil sands projects in the province of Alberta to British Columbia on the Pacific coast.

Kinder Morgan halted work last month, citing resistance from the British Columbia government, and said it would scrap the project if it did not receive the certainty it needs by May 31.

Morneau is due to speak at 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, the same day Kinder Morgan Canada holds its annual general meeting in Calgary, Alberta.

“We are going to update on ongoing discussions. It’s not the final deal, it’s not anything like that,” Morneau’s spokesman Dan Lauzon said by phone, saying the discussions had been difficult at some points.

Morneau, he added, would outline what solutions the federal government could explore. Sources have previously said Ottawa is examining options such as loan guarantees, a bailout, or taking a stake in the C$7.4 billion ($5.8 billion) project.

The development is supported by Canadian oil producers, who receive lower prices for their crude oil because of the lack of transportation capacity to take it to end-users.

However, the pipeline is opposed by British Columbia as well as some aboriginal groups and environmental activists, who cite the risk of spills.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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