By Beacon staff
Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has told the Canadian regulator it has Asian customers for Canadian oil and producers to fill its proposed $5.5 billion Northern Gateway pipeline, but First Nation leaders are vowing to use every legal means to block the project.
Enbridge announced Wednesday that Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines has filed with the National Energy Board commercial agreements which fully subscribe for long term service and capacity on both the proposed crude oil export pipeline and the condensate import pipeline. After negotiations with Canadian producers and Asian markets, the confidential parties have agreed on commercial terms relating to the long term use of the facilities, Enbridge said in a press release.
“Commercial support for the project from both Canadian oil producers and Asian markets reinforces the international importance of the project to Canada – facilitating access to world markets and international pricing for Canada’s most valuable non-renewable resource,” said Janet Holder, Enbridge’s Executive VP, Western Access. “This support demonstrates the need for Northern Gateway and is a major step forward for the Project.
“Northern Gateway will link two of Canada’s most important competitive strengths: our tremendous petroleum reserves and our Pacific advantage – safe deepwater ports that are close to the growing markets of the Pacific Rim. The project has the potential to move Canada into receiving premium prices in the global energy marketplace, rather than the landlocked, one customer price-taker it is today.
But First Nations along the proposed route from Hardistry, Alberta through northern B.C. to the terminal at Kitimat say they are not prepared to risk the health of their communities in the event of an oil spill.
“These lands belong to First Nations and they will never get our permission because our lands and rivers are not for sale,” said Chief Larry Nooski of Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, a member of the Yinka Dene Alliance, after learning of Enbridge’s filing.
“This pipeline is dead in the water.”
According to Chief Nooski, more than 100 First Nations in western Canada have said no to Northern Gateway Pipeline. He adds that, from the Rockies to the Pacific, every mile of Enbridge’s pipeline and tanker route goes through a First Nation that has banned their project.
He says First Nations will do whatever it takes to stop the project from becoming a reality.
“Enbridge’s pipeline isn’t happening, period. It doesn’t matter who they get a deal with. They plan to come through our territories and we’ve already said no, and we’ll use every legal means we have to stop them. Their proposed pipeline is against our laws because we refuse to put our communities at the risk of oil spills,” he said.
Recent negative attention in the United States, including calls for President Barack Obama to ban oil sands petroleum from entering that country, has the Canadian industry looking for alternative markets for its products. According to Enbridge, the Canadian economy will be a big winner if the Gateway project is completed.
“Northern Gateway would provide a tremendous increase in productivity, a $270 billion increase in Canadian GDP over 30 years, that would be felt not just in Alberta, B.C. and Western Canada, but across the entire country for decades to come,” said Ms. Holder.
Northern Gateway Project is a proposed $5.5-billion 1,177-km twin pipeline system and marine terminal. The proposed project, currently under regulatory review, would transport 525,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil for export and import 193,000 bpd of condensate.
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