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Indigenous Group Pours C$1B Into Keystone XL

A Canadian indigenous group has struck a deal with TC Energy to invest some $763. 77 million (C$1 billion) in the controversial Keystone XL, which Joe Biden has said he would stop when he enters office as president.

The group, Natural Law Energy, comprises several First Nations and will receive a share of the pipeline's profits in exchange for the investment, according to its chief executive Travis Meguinis in a press release. Other details of the deal were not disclosed, including where the money will come from.

"Natural Law Energy has used the same blueprint our ancestors used when they negotiated the Treaties that governed working together to share the land," Meguinis added.

"Today, we're pleased to announce that NLE's definitive agreement is one of the largest ever with over $1 billion deal for First Nations. We're a major contributor to economic developments on our traditional lands and will create opportunities for future generations. As an Indigenous led company, we need to ensure sustainability to Mother Earth and share our understanding as stewards of the land by bringing our traditional protocols and values to these projects."

Some believe that support from First nations will not be enough to stop Biden from tearing up the order that President Trump signed, allowing Keystone XL to proceed.

The project is indeed proceeding, but only in Canada. In the United States, the Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that the construction of the pipeline cannot start. The justices upheld a lower court ruling that the Keystone XL pipeline project cannot use the so-called Nationwide Permit 12 that allowed pipelines to cross rivers with minimal review if they meet certain criteria. 

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Yet, according to TC Energy, this does not mean the final end of construction but rather a delay until next year. In fact, the company said this week the Keystone XL project fits in with Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

"We've looked at the incoming Biden administration's Build Back Better plan and the steps that we've already taken with Keystone XL, we believe, have positioned it very favourably, particularly as we bring jobs to the economy next year, a key platform for the U.S. government as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," said TC's president of liquids pipelines, Bevin Wirzba, as quoted by the Canadian Press.

Keystone XL will cost $8 billion and will have the capacity to carry 830,000 bpd of Canadian crude to the United States.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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