Aboriginal support for a Northwest Territories gas pipeline has grown, with one of the last ...
Aboriginal support for a Northwest Territories gas pipeline has grown, with one of the last communities uncommitted deciding to back the C$4-bil ($2.6-bil) project. The Acho Dene Koe, of the lower Northwest Territories, voted unanimously last week to join a memorandum of understanding drafted in June by the Aboriginal Pipeline Group, representing First Nations along the Mackenzie Valley, and the Mackenzie Delta Producers Group, comprising Imperial Oil, ExxonMobil Canada, Shell Canada and Conoco Canada. A spokesman for Imperial, the lead partner in the producers' consortium, said in a statement the producers welcome the Acho Dene Koe participation and hope other dissident communities will follow suit.
The aboriginal and producers' groups drafted a plan that could give First Nations up to one-third ownership of a pipeline, but the 10 communities under the Deh Cho First Nations refused to sign until issues covering outstanding land claims, benefits, access fees and royalties could be negotiated with the Canadian government.
Some Deh Cho leaders also argued for full aboriginal ownership of a pipeline as proposed by Houston-based Arctic Resources for an "over-the-top" pipeline connecting Alaska's North Slope and the Mackenzie Delta reserves in a single pipeline. The Acho Dene Koe has been an active player since 1994 in the exploration and development of the Fort Liard gas field in the lower Northwest Territories. Production in this area has reached 200,000 Mcf/d.