Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

NWT Promotes Mackenzie Gas Pipeline in Texas

NWT Promotes Pipeline in Texas
By SHAWN BELL, SRJ Reporter 12.MAY.09

The Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment was in Houston, Texas last week, promoting northern gas and reassuring potential investors that the GNWT still supports the Mackenzie Gas Project. Minister Bob McLeod is especially concerned about the US government’s plans to provide more than the current $18 billion in loan guarantees for an Alaskan pipeline, a situation he says weights the playing field in favour of the Americans.

“There’s a new (US) national energy security bill proposed by both Republican and Democrat senators to increase the federal loan guarantee to $30 billion,” McLeod told The Journal. “We feel the federal government should look into this very seriously, should look into raising this issue in Washington.”

The primary purpose of McLeod’s Texas trip was to meet with five senior executives from oil and gas companies involved in the Mackenzie Gas Project (MGP). In light of the Joint Review Panel’s delay in a decision on the MGP – the latest indication is that the JRP will release its report in December 2009 – the minister said it is important to let the companies know the GNWT still has the project on its radar.

“It’s frustrating for (the companies) too,” McLeod said. “It just points out how much the delay is costing the NWT and Canada.” In a press release, the GNWT stated “the construction and completion of the Mackenzie Gas Project is a pivotal component to realizing the Legislative Assembly’s vision of a prosperous Northwest Territories.” The territory estimates that northern gas reserves could supply US markets with 8 billion cubic-feet of gas per day. When asked why the government would be promoting what is essentially a private industry enterprise, McLeod said the GNWT sees the pipeline as an opportunity to open up the entire Mackenzie basin.

“We see it as a basin-opening project,” McLeod said. “If you look at a map, in Alberta they’re drilling 17,000-20,000 wells per year, and that stops right at the NWT border. The only reason it stops there is that oil/gas companies don’t have a way to get the gas south.”


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