CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The upcoming review of TransCanada Corp's proposed Energy East pipeline will consider its potential indirect contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) regulator said on Wednesday.
In determining whether the pipeline is in the public's interest, the NEB will weigh the emissions from extracting and refining the oil shipped on the pipeline, the regulator said.
Energy East, which would take crude from Alberta to the Atlantic coast, would attain higher prices for Canadian producers whose landlocked product trades at a discount to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark.
However, Energy East's importance has somewhat diminished for TransCanada since U.S. President Donald Trump this year signed an order reviving the company's Keystone XL pipeline, which would run from Alberta's oil sands to U.S. refineries.
Considering Energy East's associated emissions makes the regulatory review for the pipeline more onerous and had been opposed by TransCanada, which had called it "completely redundant and unnecessary."
The NEB said also the assessment of the pipeline will provide "more visibility" to the evaluation of risks associated with accidents such as oil spills.
The NEB did not say when the review process will begin.
The regulator this year ordered its review to start again from the beginning, voiding all decisions from the project's previous examining panel that has been accused of bias.
Once the panel decides to restart the hearings, it has 21 months to complete the process. After that, the federal government has another six months to decide whether the pipeline can be built.
Last year, the review stalled amid protests by environmentalists and after the resignation of the examining panel due to revelations members met privately with a TransCanada consultant.
(Reporting by Ethan Lou; Editing by Chris Reese)