Proponents of a CAD 4 billion pipeline to tap Arctic Canada’s vast natural gas reserves may announce they will proceed with the project, Canada’s Indian Affairs Minister has said. But Robert Nault poured cold water on a report that he was set to announce a funding deal this week allowing a native group to acquire one-third ownership of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, a key condition of the project. Envisioned since oil companies made large gas discoveries in the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories in the 1970s, the pipeline proposal has picked up steam as traditional North American reserves have dwindled and demand and prices have jumped. Imperial Oil Ltd is leading the energy industry consortium behind the project, which could eventually ship 1.9 billion cubic feet of gas a day to the Alberta border, where it would enter the continental gas grid. Imperial’s partners are Shell Canada Ltd, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp.
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