[R-G] Warning: Imperial Oil/MGP propaganda
mstainsby at resist.ca
Sun Oct 9 01:44:31 MDT 2005
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
Imperial not backing down
NWT worries about Alaska gas project; aboriginals press for pipeline tax
Petroleum News Canadian Contributing Writer
Despite a warning from the Northwest Territories government that the
venture could be in trouble, Imperial Oil is unwavering in its commitment
to the Mackenzie Gas Project.
Exactly how committed will be known in November when it advises Canada's
National Energy Board whether it is ready to embark on public hearings in
But Imperial spokesman Pius Rolheiser told Petroleum News that the
Mackenzie's lead partner is "very encouraged" by significant progress that
has been made in negotiations over the past five months, since project
execution activities were halted.
He said the issues that need to be resolved are benefits and land access
agreements with five aboriginal regions along the Mackenzie pipeline right
of way and a fiscal framework with the Canadian government.
Rolheiser said the intention is to have agreements signed with the
aboriginals, or at least evidence of a "clear path forward . a degree of
assurance that they can be achieved."
Fresh glimmer of hope
There was a fresh glimmer of hope in late September with reports that four
of the five First Nations groups were ready to let the project proceed,
prompting Northwest Territories Premier Joe Handley to express optimism
that the National Energy Board will set hearing dates in November.
While unanimous aboriginal support would be desirable, he said there may
come a point where the majority rules.
Speaking at an Insight Information Co. conference in Calgary, Handley
outlined the far-reaching benefits of a Mackenzie Valley pipeline,
projecting cumulative revenues of C$50 billion if natural gas prices hold
steady at only US$4 per thousand cubic feet.
But NWT Natural Resources Minister Brendan Bell has told reporters
recently that the delay in setting a date for regulatory hearings means
the lead time on the Alaska gas pipeline is shortening.
If Alaska adopts a fast-track approach the delay could become a "material"
concern, he said at a meeting of Canada's provincial and territorial
energy ministers, urging his colleagues to make the Mackenzie project a
Bell said the Canadian government has taken "monumental" steps to advance
the project, adding that his own government is willing to enter
negotiations with Ottawa, aboriginal leaders and Imperial to ensure that
there is no further foot dragging.
He delivered a blunt message to the First Nations that they cannot hold
out indefinitely for concessions.
There is no indication that the aboriginal regions are about to drop a
demand to impose an annual C$47 million "property tax" on the pipeline.
Deh Cho Chief Keyna Norwegian insists that under treaty rights her
community has a right to tax its land.
That claim is at odds with federal Indian and Northern Affairs Minister
Andy Scott who has reportedly advised Handley that aboriginals have no
authority to collect and disperse tax revenues.
Sahtu benefits negotiator Stephen Kakfwi, a former NWT premier, said
training, jobs and contracts offered by the Mackenzie partners are not
He said taxes are needed to pay for roads, water and sewer systems,
cultural centers and recreational facilities, to give Native resident a
higher standard of living.
Kakfwi said Imperial must shoulder at least half of the blame for putting
the project 18 months behind its original schedule by failing to take some
responsibility for improving the "dirt poor" standard of living among
In the contradiction lies the hope.
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