Pipelines to financially boost B.C. more than Alberta, says study

The Canadian Energy Research Institute says the combined value from the construction and operation of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and the expansion plans for the Trans Mountain pipeline will bring B.C. almost $10 billion in gross domestic product.
A new study says B.C. could make more in gross domestic product and tax revenue than other provinces if the expanion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

New research looking at the economic payoff of two major pipelines suggests B.C. could be the big winner.

Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute says the combined value from the construction and operation of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and the expansion plans for the Trans Mountain pipeline will bring B.C. almost $10 billion in gross domestic product.

That's more than any other province, including Alberta, where the GDP is estimated to be less than $5 billion.

The lead author and senior researcher of the report, Dinara Millington, says one reason is location.

"These two pipelines physically would go through the province and actually would be constructed and operated in British Columbia territory," she said.

Millington says some of the economic benefits for B.C. are not only GDP revenue, but also employment and tax revenues.

B.C. premier Chirsty Clark has repeatedly said her province will see very little benefit from the Northern Gateway, despite carrying the bulk of the risk.

B.C. to reap more taxes, says report

For tax revenues, the report says Northern Gateway could generate $1.45 billion for the Government of Canada, $545 million to provincial  and regional governments in B.C. and $162 million to provincial and municipal governments in Alberta.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is expected to bring in more than $2 billion in tax revenues, with $1.31 billion going to the federal government, $522 million to B.C. governments and $134 million to Alberta governments.

The study also broke down the economic impact by regions on the West Coast.

In Alberta, the study shows Calgary and Edmonton benefitting the most from the two pipelines.

Within B.C., Millington says Vancouver would see the largest economic impact.

"So within B.C. we found that the mainland region, which is where Vancouver is, stands to be the highest beneficiary of these two pipelines.... That's where the major businesses are run from," she said.

The research was funded by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and both the Alberta and federal governments.

The study also finds Ontario would benefit from the pipelines, bringing in a combined total of more than $1.2 billion in GDP and more than $155 million in tax revenues to provincial and municipal governments in Ontario.