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First Nations Intent On Making Oil Pipeline Project Happen

Pipe pieces

A group of First Nations has oil and gas pipeline plans that would certainly raise hackles in British Columbia and the group is intent on making them happen despite new legislation that has put a spoke in the wheels of any future energy infrastructure project involving B.C. coast.

The Calgary Herald reports that the Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor will consist of two oil pipelines and two natural gas pipelines and will carry the commodities from northern Alberta to the B.C. coast. It is being pushed forward by a group of more than 35 First Nations, which yesterday filed a request for guidance with the National Energy Board regarding the Eagle Spirit Corridor description requirements. The pipelines will have a combined capacity of up to 4 million bpd.

“We need some clarification, since we now have Bill C-48 and Bill C-69 in place, on what the process is…and whether our project will be exempted for (moving) partially upgraded bitumen,” the chairman of the group’s council, Calvin Helin, told the Calgary Herald, adding, however, that, “Our project is going ahead, no matter what they say.”

The Canadian Senate voted in June to keep a ban on oil tankers—bill C-48—in the northern part of British Columbia. The legislators also voted in favor of Bill C-69, which concerns infrastructural projects such as pipelines. Both the tanker bill, C-48, and the pipeline bill, C-69, will make it even harder for the oil industry to boost exports at a time when there is growing hunger for Canadian heavy crude.

The First Nations behind the Eagle Spirit Energy Corridor have a second option, however. If they can’t move the oil and gas from Alberta to B.C., they will move them to Alaska instead, Helin told the Calgary Herald.

Earlier this year, another group of First Nations announced plans to buy into the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline project that pitted Alberta against British Columbia, the latter adamant about not letting any more oil pass through its territory. There was even talk of buying a majority stake in the project.

According to the Calgary herald’s Chris Varcoe, a growing number of First Nations are realizing the economic benefits of new energy infrastructure projects.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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