Imperial and partners study Mackenzie Delta gas pipeline

Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, and partners with natural gas reserves in Canada�s Mackenzie Delta are considering an 800 MMcfd natural gas pipeline from the delta reserves to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories, where Imperial operates an oil field. The firms are studying the feasibility of shipping gas in a new line that would run parallel to an existing oil pipeline operated by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. from Norman Wells to pipeline connections in northern Alberta.


CALGARY�Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, and partners with natural gas reserves in Canada�s Mackenzie Delta are considering an 800 MMcfd natural gas pipeline from the Delta reserves to Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories, where Imperial operates an oil field. The firms are studying the feasibility of shipping gas in a new line that would run parallel to an existing oil pipeline operated by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. from Norman Wells to pipeline connections in northern Alberta.

Imperial Senior Vice-Pres. Kenneth Williams told an investment symposium in Calgary that the proposal would be done in phases and is a Canadian-only project. He said it could be compatible in the future with larger projects related to Alaskan natural gas development.

Imperial and its study partners hold an estimated 6 tcf of onshore gas proven reserves in the fields they are considering for development for this project. Total estimated reserves in the area are 12 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion bbl of oil. The reserves were developed in the early 1970s, but economics and political opposition killed a number of pipeline proposals then.

Williams said the pipeline could be larger if there are more discoveries, but current reserves would support an 800 MMcfd line.

The feasibility study is scheduled for completion in early 2001. It will examine all aspects of a possible pipeline project. The Imperial executive said no decision has been made on ownership of a line but his company would not exclude taking an ownership interest.

Gulf Canada Resources and Shell Canada Ltd. hold substantial delta reserves and are also partners in the study.

TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. and Westcoast Energy Inc., both of Calgary, have expressed interest in building an Arctic gas line through Canada. BP Amoco PLC has also expressed interest in a pipeline or other methods of shipping and marketing its North Slope Alaskan gas.

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