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Alberta, British Columbia to approve new pipeline for oil sands bitumen

11.06.2013  | 

Alberta and British Columbia moved closer to an agreement that would allow Enbridge to build a pipeline to bring bitumen to Canada’s Pacific coast from the oil sands in Alberta province.



VANCOUVER (Bloomberg) -- Alberta and British Columbia moved closer to an agreement that would allow Enbridge to build a pipeline to bring bitumen to Canada’s Pacific coast from the oil sands.

The two signed a framework deal that sets the ground rules for development of pipeline projects in the nation’s westernmost province. Oil royalties are “not on the table,” according to British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

“Alberta’s royalties are not part of the discussion,” Clark said today in a briefing in Vancouver. Alberta and British Columbia are discussing ways to share the financial benefits from’s Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline project. Canada’s largest oil pipeline operator is proposing to build a 1,177 km conduit through British Columbia from Alberta to transport bitumen to Asian customers.

“We don’t know what form the economic benefits will take,” Clark said, adding that officials from both provinces continue to work on the issue. British Columbia wants to protect provincial royalties, which might be worth as much as $960 billion for British Columbia from liquefied natural gas projects in the coming decades, she said.

Alberta agreed to British Columbia’s five conditions that were set out to protect the province’s environment and local economy. Winning the “social license” to operate new oil pipelines in the province includes spill response on the Pacific coast and sharing benefits with local communities and aboriginal groups, Clark said.

Diversify Markets

Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline has faced opposition along its proposed route through central British Columbia from aboriginal and environmental groups. Alberta is seeking to diversify markets for its bitumen, which requires about $19 billion in annual investment and risks remaining land-locked amid rising production.

British Columbia said in May it can’t support Northern Gateway because project plans fail to address the risk of spills on land or sea. Canada’s National Energy Board regulator has until the end of the year to make a recommendation on the project.

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There is a Provincial Election just around the corner; even quicker if the Conservatives are successful in bringing up their sagging fortunes.


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