MacKenzie Valley Pipeline

Written by  //  January 11, 2011  //  Arctic and Antarctic, Canada  //  No comments

Mackenzie Gas Project
CBC Indepth: Mackenzie Valley pipeline

Mackenzie gas pipeline to get cabinet OK
(CBC) After almost 40 years of conflict and controversy, the massive Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline project is expected to get final government approval as early as next week with one major caveat — no federal subsidies.
Senior government sources tell CBC News the federal cabinet will give a green light to the controversial $16-billion pipeline, possibly at its next meeting.
While government approval would cap four decades of studies and delays since the Mackenzie project was first proposed, the pipeline could remain a pipe dream for years to come.
Even with final federal approvals, the big issue now is whether the project still makes economic sense without hefty public subsidies the Conservative government is apparently unwilling to provide.
The 1,200-kilometre pipeline from the Beaufort Sea to northern Alberta is being proposed by a private consortium of corporations and aboriginal groups, headed by Imperial Oil.
Proponents of the project have long argued that governments should be paying partners, since the pipeline would provide a huge economic boost to the North, and create thousands of jobs both in the Arctic and among Canadian suppliers elsewhere across the country. (Vancouver Sun) No MacKenzie Valley deal in the pipeline yet, Imperial Oil says
21 December
Writing on the wall for Mackenzie pipeline
(Montreal Gazette) When business leaders, politicians and public policy wonks ask what went wrong with the Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline, they will likely be answered with two words: Institutional failure.
It doesn’t matter a whit what the National Energy Board said Dec. 9, when it rendered its final decision approving the mammoth project. That window is shut tight.
The shale gas phenomenon and all that it implies has pretty much guaranteed that there is no need for the gas to flow from the Beaufort Sea down to Alberta and beyond.
17 December
Mackenzie pipeline’s value diminished by new North American shale gas resources
It was big news a few decades ago, but really, the press coverage generated this week by a federal decision on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline project was grossly overblown. That’s because the volume of gas flowing through the line simply isn’t worth the cost of developing the project (and as I recall, the proponents figure it’s only viable with several billion Canadian tax dollars worth of subsidy).
Shale gas resources here in British Columbia are overwhelmingly larger than the gas from the Mackenzie field, and much, much cheaper to get to market — a market that is awash in gas. . . . this week the U.S. Energy Information Agency nearly tripled its estimate for shale gas reserves south of the border and predicts that gas prices will stay relatively close to production costs over the long term. In other words, nobody is going to get rich off Mackenzie and probably not really break even, either.
15 October 2010
Ottawa slammed for stance on Mackenzie Valley pipeline project
A joint review panel assessing a $16.2-billion northern pipeline proposal has chastised the federal government for lacking transparency in an attempt to reject environmental protection measures recommended for the project in the Mackenzie Valley.
In correspondence made public this month, the chairman of the panel, Robert Hornal, criticized numerous recommendations from the government, including its suggestions that the environmental protection measures should be rejected on the grounds that they would “constrain future development in the North.”

 
Ed Struzik, Canwest News Service Files
A 1,220-km natural gas pipeline has been in the planning stages for 40 years.

10 December 2009

Economics, Politics Chill Arctic Pipeline Dreams
NUVIK, Northwest Territories (Reuters) – Driving by industrial yards along Inuvik’s icy Navy Road, Jackie Jacobson, an aboriginal guide, hunter and politician, pointed out fleets of idle trucks and clusters of unused oil field equipment.
They are the tangible evidence of an economy in limbo, waiting for one of the world’s biggest unbuilt energy projects — the C$16.2 billion ($15.3 billion) Mackenzie natural gas pipeline — to get underway.
After decades of setbacks, work on the pipeline has not started, and it’s not entirely clear it ever will.
“If there’s another big delay, I think there are a lot of businesses in Inuvik and the Northwest Territories that could fold,” said Jacobson. “There are a lot of people invested into this project.”
With a key regulatory report looming, the risks that are chilling Mackenzie — and proposals to build a much larger line in Alaska — have only increased. The implications go well beyond this town of 3,500 people above the Arctic Circle.
In the last two years alone, North American gas markets have been transformed by the development of a shale gas industry, giving energy companies access to massive deposits near major U.S. cities. All the while, the recession has cut demand for the fuel, depressing prices in the short term.
27 October
Pipeline dream in peril
Mackenzie Valley plan too costly, sources say
To this point, the government has been a firm supporter of the project. In the last budget, the government allocated $38-million to government departments to carry out environmental work and regulatory co-ordination.
A 1,220-kilometre pipeline from the Beaufort Sea in the Northwest Territories to markets in Alberta has been the dream of many northerners for 40 years. This year, Mr. Prentice told a business audience in Calgary that the dream “has never been closer.” However, market analysts continue to question the viability of the multi-billion-dollar project, which would involve building infrastructure such as roads and waterways, and come at a significant cost at a time when gas prices are sagging and the fossil fuel can be found in abundance in Canada and the lower 48 states.
2 July
Repeated delays of Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline fill Inuvik with dread
The conversation in this town of 3,500 in the Western Arctic should be about aboriginal self-sufficiency, environmentally responsible Northern development and a new clean-energy storehouse with immense potential. After all, the proposed $16.2-billion Mackenzie Valley natural-gas pipeline project was supposed to be under construction by now.
Instead, the talk is about the regulatory bungling, federal government inaction and fading industry interest in what would be one of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, a new threat has emerged: Big gas discoveries in shale rocks that are cheap and closer to customers, making the pipeline an even tougher proposition by the time all hurdles are cleared, perhaps two years from now, perhaps longer.

March 12, 2007
The Mackenzie Valley pipeline
(CBC News) The proposed gas pipeline from the Beaufort Sea to markets in southern Canada and the United States was billed in the 1970s as “the biggest project in the history of free enterprise.”
… The hard news of May 9, 1977, was [Mr. Justice Thomas] Berger’s recommendation that any pipeline development along the Mackenzie River Valley be delayed 10 years, and that no pipeline ever be built across the northern Yukon. The pipeline was delayed far longer than 10 years.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in a gas pipeline up the Mackenzie Valley, and many of those now pushing for the pipeline were the young radicals who opposed it with such vehemence 25 years ago.

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