Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Mackenzie Gas Project: Now more than ever: "It's not economical"-- So Let's Kill it.

Now more than ever: Don't negotiate the pipeline, stop it. We have the best political environment, using their financial environment, to help protect the Deh Cho Valley environment from being used to kill the Athabascan environment. in other words, not since Thomas Berger was in the Valley has their been such coherent, palpable opposition to the construction of the MGP. People in the north know that climate change is real; their neighbours houses are washing into the Arctic Ocean and birds such as robins and barn owls that have never been in the north before are flying about these days.

The northerners also know that the MGP is to feed the vast energy needs (and climate change-promoting huge greenhouse gas outputs) of the tarsands operation in Alberta, already the number one industrial cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and that the destruction of huge swaths of the northern sections (the most intact sections, to boot) of the Boreal Forest includes furthering the ascension of climate change, because the forest is one of the worlds most important carbon sinks, taking in carbon dioxide and not expelling it.

The Dehcho nation, with 40% of the pipelines route through their land, are still unceded and opposed; they have recently become the first nation from outside of Alberta to oppose the expansion of the tarsands and (joining with the poisoned community of Fort Chipewyan) calling for a moratorium on new mining plant projects in Alberta (tar pits).

There is no more a possibility to "green" the pipeline than you can learn to fight a war without death and fire.

And now, ironically, the market is saving the Valley. The pipeline costs too much, so Exxon/Mobil says. Why on earth (pun intended) would the green movement argue with that?

The people of the north are getting more determined and angry at the insanity of these plans, but our official organizations have only back pedalled further and further along, calling for less and less than what we need:

Kill the pipeline, ban it, and protect the Deh Cho Valley from this corporate scheme to feed the largest corporate scheme in the history of humanity. No compromise in defence of our mother earth!

Stop the MGP! Don't watch it die, like a terminally wounded animal-- the only thing that is of good conscience is to kill it quickly, preventing further suffering.


Mackenzie pipeline 'not economical,' Exxon says

Claudia Cattaneo And Jon Harding,
Financial Post, with files from news services
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2007

CALGARY - Exxon Mobil Corp. has sent out the strongest message yet that it is backing out of plans to build a natural gas pipeline down the Mackenzie Valley.

Rex Tillerson, Exxon chief executive, said yesterday rising costs have made the project difficult to carry out.

"It may just be that this project will have to wait for a different cost environment," Mr. Tillerson said after the company's annual meeting in Dallas. "It's not economical at this point."

He said he didn't know whether the federal government could create "enough room in the fiscal structure" to accommodate the rising costs.

That's a sharply different message from barely 18 months ago in Calgary, when Mr. Tillerson was keen to develop Arctic resources to meet global energy needs.

He said at the time: "It's a long process and there is lots of interests that have to be addressed, but we continue to make good progress and my expectation is that we will ultimately get across the finish line with this thing."

Since then, the project's costs have more than doubled, but the oil companies proposing it, headed by Exxon Mobil affiliate Imperial Oil Ltd., also made headway in solving issues with aboriginal groups.

Meanwhile it nearly completed a marathon of regulatory hearings across the North.

The oil companies' drive to move forward appears to have hit a wall in negotiations for fiscal terms with Ottawa. The companies were looking for billions in breaks, but the federal government has said no.

The National Post reported two weeks ago that Ottawa is exploring taking control of the $16.2-billion project and buying out the oil company consortium as a way to salvage the major northern infrastructure development.

Talks along those lines are continuing, sources say. Another plan being considered involves TransCanada Corp., Canada's largest pipeline company, owning the pipeline with the Aboriginal Pipeline Group (APG), an aboriginal group with a one-third interest in the project, with financial support from the federal government.

Fred Carmichael, chairman of the APG, said as far as the APG is concerned, it will do everything it can to keep the project alive.

Mr. Carmichael would not discuss the status of talks between the partners and Ottawa.

Jim Prentice, the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, has vehemently denied the project is dead or that the federal government is considering getting involved financially.

Imperial also said it is still committed to the project.

Cathy Cram, spokeswoman for ConocoPhillips, another partner, said Mr. Tillerson has not changed his views.

"We don't believe he is saying anything different than he has been saying in the last number of months," she said.

A spokesman for Exxon Mobil, Mark Boudreaux, said the project is not viable under the current fiscal regime.

"We are continuing to work with the partners and the federal government to see if we can identify a commercial project to move forward," he said.

Mr. Tillerson was equally pessimistic about the Alaska natural- gas pipeline, another giant project to ship gas from Alaska to the United States.

He said that although Exxon has not done any recent cost studies for a proposed pipeline in Alaska, he believes those costs would have risen dramatically as well.

Costs were between US$22- billion and US$25-billion about three years ago, when the company did its last estimate, Mr. Tillerson said.

"It involves lots of steel, lots of compressors, lots of valves, all the same things you need for the Canadian project," he said.

© National Post 2007

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