NEW ANALYSIS: Royal Bank of Canada, TD, Scotia, CIBC, BMO, National Bank front even more money, now $13 billion to finance boondoggle Trans Mountain pipeline
May 16, 2023
(TORONTO, ON) — New analysis from Stand.earth revealed today that Canada’s top banks have stepped in again to finance the next stage of construction of the over-budget Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. Notably, there are seemingly no non-Canadian banks willing to backstop this financially risky and repeatedly delayed project. The financiers include:
- RBC Capital Markets – Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers
- TD Securities – Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers, Global Coordinators and Lead Agent.
- BMO Capital Markets – Joint-Bookrunners, Co-Lead Arrangers
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce – Co-Lead Arrangers
- National Bank Financial Inc – Co-Lead Arrangers
- Bank of Nova Scotia – Co-Lead Arrangers
Due to a lack of transparency from the banks as well as the federal government, it is unclear what the total loan amounts per individual bank are. If equally parsed out, each bank would be responsible for $2.16 billion, suggesting these would be amongst the largest loans to fossil fuel companies delivered by each of these banks in recent years.
“Once again, we see that Canadian banks are leading the world in financing climate destructive, Indigenous rights violating projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project,” said Richard Brooks, Climate Finance Director for Stand.earth. “It’s time for them to choose sides – are you going to help us reach our national climate goals, or do everything possible to hold us back?”
Recent reports have confirmed that the Trans Mountain pipeline project costs have ballooned to over $30.9 billion. The company admitted in recent financial materials that due to the high level of debt, there are significant doubts as to the corporation’s ability to continue as an ongoing concern, and that the company will likely have to take on more debt to complete construction of the pipeline. This makes it very likely that the government is going to have to write down a large portion of their investment in order to find a buyer for the project, which means taxpayers will see money that could have been spent on growing renewables or helping community-based climate solutions get flushed down the toilet.
“This pipeline never made sense,” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director for Stand.earth. “It’s risky for the climate, it violates the rights of Indigenous peoples, and has perhaps become the largest boondoggle in Canadian history. It’s way past time for an exit strategy for this project.”
In 2022, RBC was the world’s largest financier of fossil fuel projects with more than $42 billion flowing into coal, oil and gas companies. Canadian banks are consistently among the top 20 banks financing fossil fuel projects worldwide.
RBC is also a lead financier of the notorious Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline, another over budget, delayed project, currently being opposed by hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The Competition Bureau of Canada is currently investigating RBC for allegedly misleading consumers and clients about its climate record while continuing to finance fossil fuel expansion.