Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Pipeline debate The Oil patch thinks it has won

A different perspective on the pipeline debate:

Northern Gateway pipeline reveals risks of unsettled land claims  By Deborah Yedlin, Calgary Herald February 16, 2012 7:47 AM

I think that Deborah Yedlin is off the mark in her column of yesterday. She asks some questions and then gives here answers, which I am sure would be a surprise to many. She is reporting on a breakfast meeting held by members of Petroleum Club in Calgary. It would appear that the Oil lobby in Canada think they have already won the battle over the Northern Gateway pipeline.
From her article (bold emphasis is mine)
But as the opposition and rhetoric continues to swirl around Northern Gateway, the question on the minds of many is, what exactly is required?

Moreover, how does the absence of land claims agreements with a number of the First Nations in British Columbia whose lands the pipeline will cross affect the process? Does an agreement regarding treaty rights need to be put in place before the project could proceed? (emphasis mine)

In a word, no. In fact, despite what many believe, no agreements need to be signed. Nor does any money have to be exchanged. The Crown has a duty to consult if the rights of the First Nations are affected by the government decision.

There is also a duty to ensure the First Nations in question are informed of what is going on. If there is a situation in which the traditional livelihood is affected as a result of development, the onus is on the government to make the group whole. In other words, other places must be found where the traditional life can be pursued, or an offer of financial compensationIn the context of Enbridge, it means the company is under no obligation to offer First Nations bands any sort of equity interest in the pipeline.

She goes on to say
If there is a Supreme Court challenge on an approval granted to Northern Gateway, it won't automatically stall the process - but it's likely an injunction would be applied for to stop any activity.

Thus, it's likely the passing of a Northern Gateway Pipeline Act will be required to get the project built. Taking this step means the government has to prove the project is in the national interest.

That's pretty hard to refute - despite the efforts of some to present the view there are no real economic benefits to exporting bitumen to markets beyond the U.S. The fact remains the incremental demand is not coming from the U.S. - thus the only way to capture more value per barrel is to do it through market diversification.

There is some suggestion this is an avenue already being seriously examined in Ottawa.

Read more:  Here

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