Mackenzie Valley pipeline gets federal approval

Canada’s federal Joint Review Panel approved the Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline after considering its environmental and social effects.

Christopher E. Smith
OGJ Pipeline Editor

HOUSTON, Jan. 6 -- Canada’s federal Joint Review Panel approved the Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline after considering its environmental and social effects.

The JRP was created in 2001 to streamline regulatory processes around the pipeline. In 2006, it launched public hearings in the Northwest Territories with the expectation of submitting a report by mid-2007. However, the deadline was extended at least twice as the panel analyzed its findings.

The pipeline would stretch more than 750 miles to transport Mackenzie River Delta gas to Alberta and beyond. Plans call for initial capacity of 1.2 bcfd, expandable to 1.9 bcfd.

Imperial Oil Ltd. (34.4%), ConocoPhillips Canada (15.7%), Shell Canada (11.4%), and ExxonMobil Canada (5.2%) launched the project in 2000. The consortium also includes aboriginal partners, known as the Aboriginal Pipeline Group Inc., consisting of five First Nations tribes and their financial backer TransCanada Pipelines Inc., which seeks to move the gas south to US markets.

TransCanada Corp. Chief Executive Officer Hal Kvisle estimates the regulatory delays contributed $3 billion (Can.) to the project's $16.2 billion total cost. Costs include $7.8 billion for the Mackenzie Valley mainline, $3.5 billion for the gas gathering system, and $4.9 billion for anchor-field development (OGJ, Feb. 9, 2009, p. 54).

Contact Christopher E. Smith at chriss@ogjonline.com.

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