NEB approves Mackenzie Gas Project

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor 

HOUSTON, Dec. 20 -- Canada’s National Energy Board approved applications for the construction and operation of the Mackenzie Gas Project through northern Canada.

The proposed project includes the 1,196-km Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, three onshore natural gas fields, a 457-km pipeline to carry natural gas liquids from Inuvik, NWT, to an existing oil pipeline at Norman Wells, NWT, and other related facilities.

The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, which would run from the Beaufort Sea to northwestern Alberta, is designed to carry up to 1.2 bcfd.

The NEB attached 264 conditions to the project's approval in areas including engineering and safety provisions that must be met if the project is to be built. If the federal cabinet approves NEB’s decision, the agency will issue appropriate approvals, including a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

Project operator Imperial Oil's latest cost estimate, released in 2007, pegged the project at $16 billion.

In addition to Imperial, the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline LP, ConocoPhillips Canada (North) Ltd, Shell Canada Ltd, and ExxonMobil Canada Properties hold shares in the project. If the proponents decide to build the Mackenzie Gas Project, they would also be required to obtain various permits and authorizations from other boards and government agencies before construction could commence.

Imperial filed a letter with the NEB in March stating it would not decide whether to proceed with the project until late 2013, citing administrative delays in the approval process and subsequent difficulties keeping the project adequately staffed.

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com

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