Canadian regulators have approved a project that will enhance the country’s ability to export oil from the West Coast. Enbridge Inc. announced June 17 that the National Energy Board approved its Northern Gateway project, subject to 209 conditions to ensure environmental safeguards.
The project had been under consideration by a Joint Review Panel (JRP) designated by the National Energy Board (NEB). The panel recommended Governor in Council (GIC) approval of the project by the Canadian federal government.
“Enbridge and our partners in the Northern Gateway project welcome today’s decision. The Joint Review Panel recommendation and the GIC approval are important milestones and reflect years of work by all stakeholders,” said Al Monaco, Enbridge president and CEO. “However, we have more work ahead of us. The decision is one more step in the process, a process that requires a considered and respectful approach with our stakeholders.
“Going forward, we will focus on three priorities: Meeting the JRP’s conditions, working with the Province of B.C. on its five conditions for supporting oil pipelines and continuing to engage Aboriginal communities to build further trust and seek additional input that would make the project even better.”
Monaco emphasized the company’s commitment to achieving world class standards for safety and environmental protection.
“From the start, our first priority has been safety and the protection of the environment. It is what all Canadians expect of us and it is what we expect of ourselves,” he said. “Northern Gateway is benefiting greatly from the input and engagement of communities along the right of way, Aboriginal communities and numerous technical experts in making this a truly world-class project. Today’s decision and the work of the JRP confirm that the project can be built and operated safely and that it’s in Canada’s national interest.”
Stakeholder input contributed to Northern Gateway commitments and proposed measures that were acknowledged by the Joint Review Panel as industry leading in a number of areas, including marine mitigation, consultation, engineering and safety and emergency response.
The panel also acknowledged that the potential economic benefits of Northern Gateway on local, regional and national economics would be positive and would likely be significant.
“In the broader context, opening new markets for our energy resources is critical for all Canadians. It will mean a major boost to our provincial and national economies. It will create jobs and result in new tax revenues for communities and governments to support social programs and infrastructure,” Monaco added. “Importantly, Northern Gateway will involve Aboriginal communities as owners and partners in the project, and it provides meaningful training, job and business opportunities in communities along the right of way.”
Northern Gateway is the first pipeline project to be approved to enable Canada to diversify markets for its crude oil and achieve full market value pricing. The project complements Enbridge’s broader suite of market access projects, currently in execution, that will open 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) of incremental market access to eastern Canada, the U.S. Gulf Coast and the U.S. Midwest by 2016. With Northern Gateway, Canadian producers will have greater access to the fastest growing markets in the Asia Pacific Rim.
The Northern Gateway project is a proposed 1,177-km twin pipeline system and marine terminal. The project would transport 525,000 bpd of oil for export and import 193,000 bpd of condensate.