Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

N.W.T. natural gas destined for tarsands/ MGP to be repegged $11 billion

N.W.T. natural gas destined for Alberta's oilsands, groups charge

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | 11:01 AM CT
CBC News

A coalition of national environmental groups is concerned that natural gas from the Northwest Territories will be used to fuel oilsands extraction in northern Alberta.

The groups want the panel reviewing the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline to look into where the gas will end up and how it will be put to use, they told a news conference in Edmonton Monday before making presentations to the Joint Review Panel.

Sierra Club executive director Stephen Hazell said it makes no sense for Arctic gas to be used to produce oil which, in turn, would increase the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Hazell gave reporters a map that he claims was produced by TransCanada Pipelines — an investor in the Mackenzie gas project — that shows a dotted red line running from east to west across northern Alberta.

He says the map is proof there are plans to pipe northern gas to Fort McMurray and further accelerate oilsands development.

"Let's decrease the growth of tarsands oil production so that the demand for gas would be far, far less," he said.

The World Wildlife Fund believes there are better uses for northern gas than to power the oilsands extraction process, said the organization's Julia Langar.

"Right now it's a bit of a free-for-all and there is no sense of what is the best value for this gas," Langar said.

However, Imperial Oil's Pius Rolheiser told the Joint Review Panel on Monday the pipeline and the oilsands are not related projects.

"The Mackenzie gas project could and would proceed, with or without the announced expansion of oilsands projects," Rolheiser said.

"Conversely the expansion projects that have been planned or proposed in the oilsands would happen with or without the Mackenzie gas project so I think the two are completely separate."

Although Imperial Oil and its partners have not yet released their latest cost estimate for the 1,200-kilometre pipeline project, analysts have said it will be about $11 billion, or possibly more.

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