Mackenzie Valley pipeline one step closer to reality

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YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. — A consortium of natural gas producers and aboriginal representatives has announced the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline will proceed.

The Mackenzie Delta Producers Group was able to work with the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline Corp. to agree on some of the finer points of the operation.

“Announcing our intent to proceed with the project definition phase demonstrates confidence…that development of Mackenzie Delta gas, including a Mackenzie Valley pipeline, is potentially commercial and can be beneficial to the people of the North and to all resource developers,” Imperial Oil senior vice-president, K.C. Williams tells local media.

He adds the ultimate decision to build the pipeline still rests with the government, but is confident regulatory approval can be obtained. The application for approval from the government will likely be submitted in 2003.

Based on the latest round of meetings, group spokesman Hart Searle says, “We believe over the longer term, the demand for natural gas will remain strong and the market for gas will continue to grow. We would hope to see gas prices that are quite a bit stronger than today, but we’re sufficiently encouraged by what we’ve seen so far to continue on.”

Northwest Territories Resources Minister, Jim Antoine, says the latest announcement is a major step forward.

“It is a signal that something is starting to happen so we generally feel pretty positive about it,” says Antoine. “Construction of the pipeline itself will open up development of significant natural gas reserves in the Beaufort region.”

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