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TC Energy seeking to sell off $5 billion in assets in 2023 to fund future projects

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By Amanda Stephenson in Calgary

TC Energy Corp. is looking to divest $5 billion in assets next year, as the Calgary-based pipeline operator seeks to pay down debt and fund new projects.

In a conference call to discuss third quarter financial results Wednesday, chief executive François Poirier said TC Energy will seek to sell off non-core assets and minority interests to help finance its larger expansion goals without taking on large amounts of debt.

“We are opportunity rich,” Poirier said. “And being opportunity opportunity-rich means we expect to sanction additional high-quality growth projects that will further differentiate TC Energy as an industry leader. So there is a need to balance our sources and uses of capital without the reliance on further external equity.”

Poirier declined to provide specifics around which assets could be up for sale, though he said that the greenhouse gas emissions profile of individual assets will be a factor as the company seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.

In addition, he said a divestiture program will give TC Energy the capacity to move faster with some of its efforts to reduce its emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and reach the target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The company is exploring a carbon capture transportation and sequestration system in partnership with Pembina Pipeline Corp., and also has a partnership with Irving Oil to explore the development of low-carbon hydrogen opportunities.

On Wednesday, Poirier said he was encouraged by last week’s federal fall economic statement, which pledged government support for the development of clean technologies as well as a new tax credit for hydrogen development.

“We’ve been working very hard to develop our capabilities in some of these new low-carbon areas,” Poirier said. “Clearly, the incentives that have been presented both in the U.S. and Canada are going to accelerate our opportunity set in our low-carbon businesses.”

TC Energy reported Wednesday that its third-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago as its revenue gained more than 15 per cent.

The company said it earned net income attributable to common shares of $841 million or 84 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $779 million or 80 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter totalled nearly $3.80 billion, up from $3.24 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

During the quarter, TC Energy resolved a long-standing dispute with LNG Canada over projected cost overruns for the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, which TC is building to ship natural gas to the LNG Canada export terminal currently under construction near Kitimat, B.C.

The revised project agreements reflect a new total cost estimate for Coastal GasLink of $11.2 billion, up from $6.6 billion.

In August, TC Energy announced a strategic alliance with Mexico’s state-owned electric utility for the development of new natural gas infrastructure in central and southeast Mexico.

As a result of that agreement, TC Energy announced it will go ahead with construction of the Southeast Gateway pipeline, a 715-km offshore natural gas pipeline to serve the southeast region of Mexico. That project is estimated to cost US$4.5 billion, and be complete by mid-2025.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2022.

 

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

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Alberta

Two deputy chief medical officers resign from their positions with Alberta Health

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Edmonton – Alberta’s two deputy chief medical officers of health are leaving their roles — less than a month after Dr. Deena Hinshaw was removed as the province’s top doctor.

Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed during question period Wednesday that both of the doctors have submitted letters of resignation.

“They are still continuing to work at this point in time,” he said in the legislature. “We are in the process of actually looking to fill those roles.”

A statement from Alberta Health said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu, who are listed as public health physicians on the department’s website, have given notice.

When reached by her department email, Salvaterra responded: “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment.”

She later added that she respects and admires both Dr. Hinshaw and Dr. Hu.

“They are brilliant, hard-working, and compassionate public health physicians and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside them for these past 14 months.”

Salvaterra, who has extensive public health experience including as the medical officer of health for Peterborough, Ont., joined the office in October 2021.

Her career in public health includes work in “the COVID-19 response, mental health, the opioid response, women’s health, poverty reduction, health equity, community food security and building stronger relationships with First Nations.”

Hu’s out-of-office message said her “last day at work with Alberta Health was Nov. 18, 2022,” and noted she wouldn’t have access to the department email after that date.

She got extensive training in China and at the University of Calgary before joining the health department in January 2020.

Their resignations came within a month of Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, being removed from her position.

Hinshaw was replaced by Dr. Mark Joffe, a senior executive member of Alberta Health Services, on an interim basis.

“Dr. Joffe will be supported by medical officers of health within AHS, by other staff in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and by the Public Health Division,” said the statement from Alberta Health late Wednesday.

“We expect these changes to have no impact on the department’s and Dr. Joffe’s ability to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act.”

Hinshaw’s dismissal didn’t come as a surprise.

Premier Danielle Smith announced on her first day in office in October that she would be replaced.

Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.

Smith has not placed the blame on front-line doctors and nurses but broadly on AHS senior management. Joffe, while serving as chief medical officer of health, retains his role in AHS senior management as a vice-president responsible for areas in cancer and clinical care.

Hinshaw, an Alberta-trained public health specialist, became a celebrity of sorts in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, as she delivered regular, sometimes daily, updates to Albertans on the virus, its spread and methods to contain it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.

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