If built, the Energy East pipeline will transport 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day from receipt points in Saskatchewan and Alberta to refineries and port terminals in New Brunswick and Quebec. But that’s not all it will deliver.

The pipeline project, which will convert 3,000 km of existing natural gas pipeline to crude oil service and will include the construction of 1,600 km of new pipeline, has the potential to offer huge social and economic benefits to Canadians across all provinces and territories. “This is a nation building project, no doubt about it,” says John Telford, Director of Canadian Affairs at The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA).

Creating jobs

The Energy East pipeline will create thousands of high-paying jobs for local skilled trades people across Canada. “The Energy East project is going to provide upwards of 13,690 full-time equivalent direct and indirect jobs over the course of the seven-year construction and development phase of the project,” explains John Soini, Vice-President of Energy East. “There will also be about 900 direct and 2,400 indirect jobs created during the 20-year operational cycle of Energy East.”

“The Energy East project is going to provide upwards of 13,690 full-time equivalent direct and indirect jobs over the course of the seven-year construction and development phase of the project,”

In Alberta, the pipeline will create 821 direct jobs and 616 indirect jobs per year during the development phase. In the operational phase, the pipeline project will create 365 full-time equivalent direct and 350 indirect jobs year on year. The project is also expected to add over $7 billion to Alberta’s GDP over the development and operational phases combined and a further $862 million in government tax revenue.

For young people starting out in their trades, the project represents a fantastic opportunity for developing skills as part of a demanding, challenging, and meaningful project. “From Alberta to New Brunswick, we think there will be a 1,000 new apprentices just in the UA trade,” explains Telford. “With 70 pumping stations along the route, that’s $4.5 billion worth of building trades work — that’s going to stimulate apprentices for every trade.”

Local economic and social benefits

If the pipeline is approved, local communities across Canada will see significant new business opportunities in services such as food, accommodations, hardware, fuel, and parts. New capital expenditure will also be directed towards engineering, design and construction management firms, trades, and professional services, which will create even more jobs and boost local economies.

The project is committed to employing local people from communities that the pipeline travels through. “This will be a huge benefit to places like northern Ontario, which has been severely hurt in the last 10 to 15 years,” says Telford. “There will be 18 pumping stations built along the route from Manitoba to northern Ontario — that will create long-term jobs for local people.”

Energy East is also working hard to ensure that, through a process of meaningful engagement, First Nations and Métis communities receive substantial opportunities, in the form of jobs and contracts, during both the construction and operation phases. “The First Nations population is the youngest in Canada, so there’s a real opportunity to draw upon that population and develop people who are interested in a career in the pipeline or construction industries,” says Lionel Railton, Canadian Regional Director at International Union of Operating Engineers.

The future of our energy

Currently, 86 percent of the oil refined in Quebec and New Brunswick is sourced from foreign nations, such as Algeria, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia. This imported oil costs the Canadian economy $75 million every single day. The Energy East pipeline would help to diminish that dependence, as well as the financial viability of Eastern Canadian refineries by giving them access to less expensive, stable domestic supplies.

Once domestic supply is in the pipeline and cost of fuel for Canadian companies, Energy East will begin to supply export markets. This will place Canada in a strong position in the global energy economy and exportation opportunities will provide growth, create more jobs, and generate the tax revenue that helps provinces provide citizens with a high quality of life.

The Energy East pipeline is the best plan for Canada’s future. For Canada’s energy sector to remain robust and for attractive jobs to be created within various sectors, Energy East simply needs to happen. “Energy East is absolutely paramount for Canada,” says Telford. “The project will benefit everybody from Alberta right through to New Brunswick.”