Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Feds to streamline entirely new Mackenzie Gas Project

Prentice pledges speedy review of new gas project plan
Last Updated: Monday, December 17, 2007 | 2:18 PM CT
CBC News

Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice has promised proponents of the beleaguered Mackenzie gas project he will review their latest financial plan as quickly as possible.

Prentice met with representatives of Imperial Oil, its parent ExxonMobil, Shell Canada, ConocoPhillips and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, composed of the Inuvialuit, the Gwich'in and the Sahtu First Nations in Calgary on Friday.

The $16.2-billion project includes a 1,220-kilometre pipeline, gas gathering systems and the development of three gas fields in the Mackenzie Delta region.

Although Prentice did not release any details of the new plan, he did say the government has no interest in owning any part of the project nor does it want to subsidize the petroleum companies.

There are reports the ownership would shift to pipeline company TransCanada, which would pick up a 60 per cent interest while the Aboriginal Pipeline Group would own the other 40 per cent.

Imperial Oil, which as been leading the project up until now, cooled to it after the estimated price more than doubled. It has been trying to cut a deal with Ottawa for the past year.

Since Canada owns the gas fields, the federal government has a responsibility to define the fiscal framework applicable to the project, Prentice said in a statement released after the meeting.

The project must be a private sector investment that satisfies "the public interest tests raised in the context of the environmental assessment and regulatory processes," he said.

It has to be designed and regulated to maximize the potential of northern resources, and it has to result in tangible benefits for northerners, he said.

The participation of the Aboriginal Pipeline Group has to remain an important aspect of the project, he said.

The Joint Review Panel examining the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the proposed project recently wrapped up its hearings.

The panel is expected to release its report in the summer of 2008.

It is then up to the National Energy Board to make a final recommendation to the government.


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