The Premier of the North West Territories suggests that the province of Alberta should plan to move oil north through the territories to the Beaufort Sea rather than west through British Columbia to a port on the Pacific.
The premier of Canada's Northwest Territories Bob McCleod told CBC(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) that his government would support a northern route if the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline through British Columbia to the west coast is not approved. The premier of British Columbia Christy Clark has outlined five minimal conditions that must be met before her government would approve the Northern Gateway project.
The Northern Gateway Project is being promoted by Enbridge a company that is already facing difficulties because of recent oil leaks from its pipelines. Clark said: Our government is committed to economic development that is balanced with environmental protection. In light of the ongoing environmental review by the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge pipeline project proposal, our government has identified and developed minimum requirements that must be met before we will consider support for any heavy oil pipeline projects in our province. We need to combine environmental safety with our fair share of fiscal and economic benefits. Enbridge issued a statement saying that it was committed to working with all governments including B.C. to address any concerns and to fully understand the risks involved with the projects.
A Northwest Territories polar bear licence plate
Alison Redford the Alberta premier in a press release was critical of the B.C. premier who as one of her conditions wanted a share of revenues from the pipeline. Redford said: Leadership is not about dividing Canadians and pitting one province against another—leadership is about working together. That’s when our country benefits—that’s when Canada leads. Through a Canadian Energy Strategy, the provinces and territories together will reach their full energy potential and contribute to increased prosperity and a higher standard of living for all Canadians.The Canadian Energy Strategy seems to be to sell off our resources to the highest bidder and the best return to shareholders with little concern for Canadian future needs, the concerns of other stakeholders, or the environment. Many of our eastern oil supplies are imported while our ample western oil supplies go south to the U.S. Now Harper and Redford are anxious they also go to Asian markets. Environmental reviews are being streamlined or gutted depending upon your viewpoint so that the projects can be approved more quickly.
A MacKenzie Valley pipeline was proposed to bring natural gas from the Beaufort Sea in the far north down to a gas pipeline in Alberta.. The project was first proposed in the early 1970s, After an inquiry by Justice Berger the project was shelved only to be reborn in 2004.with a new proposal to transport gas. Environmentalists are concerned about building a pipeline through the sensitive arctic tundra. Due to permafrost in many places the line must often be built above ground. Estimates are that in the MacKenzie Delta Beaufort sea regions there are up to 1.9 cubic meters of natural gas. For a second time the huge project has been placed on hold.in April of this year.
The partners behind the proposed $16.2 billion projected halted development because of low prices for natural gas. ConocoPhillips said Thursday that the five partners in the energy development consortium have suspended funding for the project..The partners include an aboriginal group funded by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Imperial Oil Ltd., also of Calgary. ConocoPhillips said the decision was made in the first quarter of this year
A pipeline carrying oil from the tar sands to the Beaufort Sea through the territories would provide an alternative development project and help boost the economy of the Northwest Territories. No doubt it would help McCleod politically as well.
There have been no direct discussion between the province of Alberta and the government of the Territories. Cal Dallas who is Alberta Minister of International and Intergovernmental Affairs welcomed the offer from McCleod. Dallas said on the CBC:We would be more than pleased to talk to Premier McLeod and anyone in the N.W.T. that's interested in the potential of co-operating on projects,"
Dallas noted that McLeod's remarks might encourage the private sector to consider the economic viability of other pipeline projects. Shipping oil out through the Arctic waters of the Beaufort sea will no doubt raise even more environmental concerns than along the British Columbia coast. A pipe rupture on land too would be disastrous in the Arctic Tundra. Any northern pipeline from Alberta is likely to be built only in the fairly distant future if at all.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com