CJAD.800 AM NEWS: Energy companies file regulatory applications for Mackenzie valley pipeline: “A proposed multibillion-dollar pipeline to ship Arctic natural gas from the Northwest Territories to the United States took a major step forward Thursday with the long-awaited filing of applications for regulatory approval.”: “The companies involved in the pipeline project include… Shell Canada controlled by Europe's Royal Dutch/Shell Group.” (ShellNews.net)
Posted 8 Oct 04
CALGARY (CP) - A proposed multibillion-dollar pipeline to ship Arctic natural gas from the Northwest Territories to the United States took a major step forward Thursday with the long-awaited filing of applications for regulatory approval.
The price tag for the pipeline, proposed by a group of international energy producers, has increased about $2 billion since it was first proposed to a total of $7 billion.
And the plans now include two separate pipelines - one to carry gas and another to carry natural gas liquids - as well as related facilities and connections from three so-called "anchor field developments."
The pipeline is expected to stretch about 1,220 kilometres south from the Mackenzie Delta to existing pipe systems in northern Alberta.
"Although a number of critical activities are in progress, the filing this week of the main regulatory applications demonstrates our commitment to the project and our desire to initiate the regulatory review process," Imperial Oil Resources president Michael Yeager said in a release.
The companies involved in the pipeline project include some of the largest oil and gas producers in the world, including Imperial (TSX:IMO) and its parent company ExxonMobil, Texas-based ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Shell Canada (TSX:SHC), controlled by Europe's Royal Dutch/Shell Group.
Another partner in the pipeline proposal is the Aboriginal Pipeline Group with a one-third stake, representing numerous N.W.T. aboriginal groups who support the mega-project.
"The regulatory review process will allow active and meaningful participation by the communities in the Mackenzie Valley," APG chairman Fred Carmichael said in a release.
"Aboriginal ownership in the project provides an opportunity to make a significant difference in the North - we are a step closer to delivering long-term benefits to our aboriginal stakeholders."
While Thursday's filing marks a milestone for project backers who have worked more than two years to get to this point, it does not guarantee that the pipeline will be built.
A final decision to proceed will be made only after obtaining necessary regulatory approvals and a final cost analysis.
The National Energy Board, which will play a major role in the regulatory approval process, has been busy planning detailed consultations to be held throughout the Territories.
Expected environmental effects of the pipeline will also be gathered by a joint review panel that represents two local boards as well as the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
"Considerable challenges still remain to progress this complex project in a timely and economic manner while ensuring the northern environment and cultures are respected," said Ian Kilgour, Shell Canada's senior vice-president of exploration and production.
Even with the myriad consultations and approvals required to push the pipeline to the construction phase, supporters are hopeful that the approval process can be completed in about two years, allowing gas to be flowing from Canada's Arctic by 2010.
"The filing of the regulatory applications is the result of the cooperation of multiple stakeholders for a development as complex as the Mackenzie gas project," said ConocoPhillips Canada president Henry Sykes.
"This co-operation needs to be maintained and broadened to overcome the many challenges that remain before the proponents can make a decision to construct and all parties can declare this project a success."
One of the most pressing challenges for the Mackenzie pipeline are two recent legal actions filed by the Deh Cho First Nations, who are not part of the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.
The Deh Cho, who control the largest section of the pipeline's proposed route, want to settle their land claim with Ottawa before agreeing to the pipeline plans.