The cancellation of part of the Energy East project in Quebec is good news for the rest of the pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick, says the director of the Queens Institute of Energy and Environmental Policy.

Warren Mabee says the fact that TransCanada Corp. announced last week it is dropping plans for a terminal in Cacouna, Que., following a government recommendation to recognize beluga whales as an endangered species, shows the company is listening to environmental concerns and willing to adapt.

Mabee is also happy the company extended the completion date by two years to 2020.

"I think they've learned from their experiences in the States with Keystone XL, they've learned from other experiences that other companies are having across this country, and I think that they're being much more realistic about what it will take to get this done," he said.

Mabee says he is optimistic the $12-billion pipeline project will proceed, but says the final form remains to be seen.

​The proposed 4,600-kilometre pipeline would carry 1.1 million barrels a day of oilsands crude from western Canada to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. It would terminate at Irving Oil's Canaport facility, which is located at the entrance to Saint John Harbour.

TransCanada Corp. has said it is exploring other options for a terminal in Quebec.

Any amendments to its application based on its evaluation of other options in Quebec are expected to be filed with the National Energy Board in the fourth quarter of 2015, officials have said.

The Quebec government has imposed a number of conditions on TransCanada for it to accept the project. One of the conditions is that the project generate economic benefits for Quebec.

The National Energy Board has received 1,805 applications to participate in hearings on the proposed pipeline.