Natural gas pipeline project to benefit 15 B.C. First Nations
Pacific Trail Pipelines, a partnership between Galveston LNG Inc. as well as Kitimat LNG partners Apache Canada Ltd. and EOG Resources Canada Inc. is being supported by 15 B.C. First Nations groups.
Pacific Trails Pipelines is the developer of a proposed 463 kilometre, natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Summit Lake, close to Prince George, to Kitimat, passing through the Lakes District.
First Nations stakeholders with territories crossed by the pipeline, including the Burns Lake Band, Wet'suwet'en First Nation and Stallat'en First Nation have signed on to support the Pacific Trails Pipeline project.
An agreement signed in 2009, gives the 15 First Nations a [combined] 30 per cent ownership stake in the pipeline.
According to Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, Tribal Chief David Luggi, this is the first time in Canadian history that as many as 15 First Nations across B.C. have gathered under one umbrella for a business venture.
Pacific Northern Gas was a previous partner in the project however in February this year, Apache Canada Ltd. and EOG Resources Canada Inc. announced that they have agreed to purchase a 50 percent interest in the Pacific Trail Pipelines partnership from Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. for a total of $50 million in order to push the 463 kilometre underground pipeline forward.
As a result, Apache Canada’s ownership of the pipeline has now increased from 25.5 percent to 51 percent and EOG Canada’s ownership has increased from 24.5 percent to 49 percent.
The pipeline will serve a planned Kitimat liquefied natural gas facility which will be owned by Apache Canada and EOG Canada. According to Pacific Trails Pipelines, the Kitimat terminal will be the only proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal on the west coast of North America.
The close proximity of the terminal to Asian markets will provide the project with a competitive advantage over other liquefaction markets that already exist in the Atlantic basin.
The estimated $1 billion pipeline will provide the Kitimat terminal with access to natural gas supplies in British Columbia and Alberta.
Chief Luggi said to Lakes District News that only after all the environmental framework and monitoring was in place the 15 First Nations moved forward with the business side of the partnership.
"The environmental framework and monitoring was a key aspect to the structure of the deal," Chief Luggi added.
As stakeholders in the project the 15 First Nations [together] will receive a total 30 per cent equity stake in the pipeline, individually they will receive a share of the 30 per cent stake pertaining to the amount of pipeline in each territory.
According to Chief Luggi, based on current business projections, First Nations along the pipeline route could realize cash flows of $540 million to $570 million over the life of the 25 year deal, not including any benefits to come from the pipeline's construction.
Chief Luggi explained that from the 30 per cent total First Nations share, the Burns Lake Band will receive a three per cent share as the pipeline crosses three per cent of the Burns Lake Band's territory. Wet'suwet'en First Nation will receive a 10 per cent share and Stallat'en will receive a nine per cent share.
"It all adds up to a healthy amount," said Chief Luggi.
The group of 15 First Nations along the route also received an additional $18 million over two years from Human Resources Development Canada, after a collective application for funding was approved last year.
Chief Luggi said the funds are being put towards employment training through the Pacific Trail Pipelines Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnership and training will be provided to 600 First Nations people in anticipation of the pipeline being built.
Last year 300 First Nations people along the pipeline route received training.
"We are now going on to our second and final year with training for another 300 people," Chief Luggi said adding that there have been First Nation's people in the Burns Lake/Lakes District area that have participated in the training.
"Not only will these people have the ability to serve the pipeline project but in the interim they will be able to gain employment in other areas of major resource development," he said.
According to Chief Luggi the project is now in the front end engineering and design stage. There will then be a three year time frame for pipeline construction.
"The Kitimat liquefied natural gas facility also has to be built," Chief Luggi added.
For more information on the Pacific Trails Pipeline Project go to www.pacifictrailpipelines.com. For more information on the Pacific Trail Pipelines Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnership go to www.ptpasep.ca.