From this am’s Prince George Citizen:
**Oil pipeline proposed through northern B.C. **
by GORDON HOEKSTRA Citizen staff
Enbridge Inc. is hard at work on a $2.5-billion proposal which could see one of the biggest pipelines ever built in Canada carry Alberta oilsands crude through the heart of northern B.C. for ocean export.
The Gateway Pipeline proposal calls for a 400,000-barrels-a-day pipeline to fill supertankers at either Prince Rupert or Kitimat for delivery to California and Asia.
Enbridge has not secured needed support from oil producers and shippers – and is competing with a proposal from Terasen, which also includes an option through northern B.C. – but hopes to have a decision by the end of this year or “very early” 2005.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for more than two years now,” Enbridge spokesman Ian La Couvee said Thursday. “We’re hoping by the end of the year to have good news.”
Crude production from Alberta’s oilsands is expected to double by the end of the decade – two about 2 million barrels a day – requiring new pipeline capacity. Enbridge believes it’s also necessary to diversify its markets from the midwest U.S. and Eastern Canada.
Initially, Enbridge was considering both Fort McMurray and Edmonton as starting points for the pipeline, but is now focusing on Edmonton. Although the exact location of the pipeline has not been pinpointed, La Couvee said it will come close to Prince George.
The company has chosen a northwestern route over a southerly route terminating in the Lower Mainland because that route posed more technical and environmental difficulties, said La Couvee. As well, the Port of Vancouver was not capable of handling the largest oil tankers that would be the most efficient to carry crude to Asia.
Terasen originally proposed twinning its pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver. However, it recently added a proposal to include an option to either Prince Rupert or Kitimat.
La Couvee said he believes Enbridge has an advantage over Terasen because it has put in two years working with communities and First Nations, identifying challenges and impacts. “We’ve been doing the ground work that needs to be done before moving a proposal like this forward,” he said.
La Couvee said the company has had discussions with more than 120 aboriginal communities, both First Nations and Metis.
The company is continuing its discussions with communities, and hopes to meet with representatives of the City of Prince George in the “very near future,” he added.
However, municipalities and First Nations in the Prince George area knew very little about the project.
Vanderhoof Mayor Len Fox said he’d recently heard some talk about a pipeline, but his community had not been approached officially.
Fort St. James Mayor Jim Togyi said he had not heard of the Enbridge pipeline proposal.
Lheidli T’enneh First Nation band manager Joe Gosnell said he hadn’t seen any correspondence about the pipeline proposal, but added others may have.
Further to the west, Stellat’en First Nation chief Patrick Michell said his community was approached by Enbridge several months ago. The company wanted to make a presentation, but Michell said he told Enbridge there would have to be agreement on serious consultation and accommodation before they entered any discussions. The Takla Lake First Nation, north of Fort St. James, also rebuffed Enbridge’s overtures.
On the Coast, Prince Rupert mayor Herb Pond was well aware of the proposal and said the city has met with Enbridge officials. He said he believes there’s benefits for northerners whether the port terminus is Prince Rupert or Kitimat. He said he obviously favours Prince Rupert. “It would be helpful to us in building critical mass in our overall shipping industry,” said Pond. “We’re excited about the project.”
Â©Copyright 2004 Prince George Citizen