Indigenous Group Helps Clear Way for $5.5B Super Pipeline

Posted by - Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

A British Columbia First Nation has officially announced that it will be supporting the Northern Gateway pipeline project. The pipeline is an extremely lucrative endeavor that aims to ship oil sands crude over to the West Coast.

Enbridge Inc. made an equity stake offer in the $5.5 billion project. Hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan accepted that offer and Chief Elmer Derrick anticipates the deal will bring in a minimum of $7 million in net profit to his fellow indigenous people of Gitxsan.

Meanwhile, nearby groups are furious with opposition. Two Gitxsan chiefs were astonished by this decision, saying their "nation was 'in shock and embarrassed' after the announcement that the aboriginal community had become an ownership partner in Enbridge’s embattled $5.5-billion pipeline proposal."

Many nearby dwellers of the land are angry about this new pipeline that would stretch over 1,170km from Brudenheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia. The damage to the environment is obviously a concern. But the ambitious plan does hold a lot of potential in terms of the wealth it could bring into the area.

That pipeline would be able to transport roughly 718,00 barrels of oil each day: 520,00 exports and 193,000 barrels of imports....those 193,000 “barrels of condensate a day to a new marine terminal where up to 200 tankers per year would carry crude to market in China, Singapore and Korea.”

The project has significant financial support and backing from China as well...

pipeline
*Image courtesy of The Vancouver Sun.

However, things won't really be in operation until at least 2017. Environmental activists are still scheduled to speak for 650 total hours of public hearings in hopes of blocking Northern Gateway from getting this $5.5 billion project up and running. 

Speculators worry that the 2017 target exists merely as an overly optimistic date. A conservative Senator from British Columbia, Pat Carney, was recently reported saying that it may not get on the ground at all: "You can't just bulldoze your way from the oilsands to the coast," said Carney.

MINING.com reported at the end of October the US state department’s anonymous leak to the media lowering expectations about a decision on Keystone this year should not have come as a surprise to anyone following Barack Obama’s poll numbers or the increasing bitterness on the left about his perceived closeness to industry.

Apart from environmental campaigners and clean energy proponents other players may also be rejoicing at the Keystone delay and the regulatory difficulties of Northern Gateway: MINING.com has argued that if Keystone XL is built the biggest losers will not be the Greens, it will be Big Oil: Keystone XL should bring Canadian crude, which at the moment sells at a steep discount, in line with global prices. At the same time a huge slice of the record profits of Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil will we wiped out. Here's why.

*Indented excepts from MINING.com.

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