Kinder Morgan moving forward with Trans Mountain through IPO

A small group of demonstrators protesting Canada’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion chant as Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves a  meeting  May 18, 2017, in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Houston’s Kinder Morgan said it plans to start construction in September on its Trans Mountain pipeline project in Canada.

The plans are contingent on Kinder Morgan’s successful completion of an IPO for its Canadian business next week to help fund the nearly $5.5 billion pipeline expansion.

The project will funnel Canadian oil sands crude 715 miles from Edmonton, Alberta, to Vancouver-area ports in British Columbia. From those ports the oil can be shipped to Asian markets and others that typically pay higher prices.

Rather than attract joint venture partners, Kinder Morgan chose to take its Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. subsidiary public on the Toronto Stock Exchange to help pay for the project. Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean called it one of the largest IPOs in Canadian history. The IPO will include much of Kinder Morgan’s other Canadian assets.

“Our execution planning is complete, our approvals are in hand, and we are now ready to commence construction activities this fall generating thousands of direct jobs for Canadians, including significant benefits to Indigenous communities in Alberta and British Columbia,” Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, said.

The project, which has been in the works for nearly four years, is opposed by environmentalists, indigenous tribes and many landowners. The controversy similar to that surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

RELATED: Canada approves Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain project in November. But the liberal Green Party recently won control in British Columbia, complicating the project and potentially leading to additional Kinder Morgan concessions.

Kinder Morgan will price its IPO at less than $13 a share, less than originally expected. The goal is to raise at least $1.3 billion through the IPO.

Kinder Morgan acknowledged “the political climate was not ideal,” but that it was proceeding now to meet contractual agreements with its customers.

The Trans Mountain expansion would almost triple its existing capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The expansion pipeline would be placed alongside a Kinder Morgan pipeline that began operations in 1953.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.