An energy expert says the National Energy Boards' decision to delay hearings about Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is adding uncertainty to an already fragile industry.
The NEB postponed hearings this week because a consultant who prepared evidence in favour of the project will soon start working for the national energy regulator.
The regulatory panel looking into the proposed pipeline expansion decided to strike the consultant's evidence from the record.
The NEB also directed Kinder Morgan to list any other evidence Steven Kelly prepared — and to advise the panel whether that material will be replaced.
Carmen Velasquez, who heads the energy programs at the University of Alberta, says the postponement could delay the project even if it gets approval.
"It creates more uncertainty, which is something that western Canadian producers are having to deal with already," she said.
"It depends on what they do going forward. So, if they re-submit evidence, depending whether that evidence has to be developed from scratch, it could take a lot of time to do that."
Kinder Morgan plans to almost triple the capacity of a pipeline that runs from near Edmonton to a marine terminal in the Vancouver area, enabling shipments of Alberta crude to Asia.
A spokesperson for the proposed pipeline says the company will comment once it has had a chance to review the panel's notification.