Saturday, August 4, 2012

NWT Premier Bob McLeod proposes oil pipeline to Beaufort Sea from Alberta

Bob McLeod who is premier of Canada's Northwest Territories argues that the province of Alberta should consider promoting a pipeline north through the territories to the Beaufort Sea. The pipeline would move oil north from the Alberta Tar Sands and then it could be shipped through the Beaufort Sea and Bering Strait to Asian markets.

There is already a proposed pipeliine through British Columbia to a Pacific port in British Columbia that would then ship oil by tanker to Asian markets. However that pipeline called the Northern Gateway faces strong opposition from environmentalists and aboriginal people who occupy land along the proposed route.'The premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, has also demanded that certain conditions be met before her government would approve the project.

McCleod hoped that the Northwest Territories would benefit from a proposed McKenzie Valley pipeline that would carry natural gas from the Beaufort Sea into Alberta where it would join with an existing natural gas line. However that project has been beset by difficulties. Several investors recently pulled out of the project and it is now on hold. The proposed oil pipeline would compensate for the failure of this project to go ahead.

There have been no direct talks between the government of Alberta and the Northwest Territories on a possible oil pipeline to the north. However Cal Dallas the minister of internatioanl and governmental affairs for Alberta told the CBC that he would be more than pleased to talk to Premier McCleod to explore potential projects. Dallas thought that McCleod's remarks could very well encourage the private sector to study the viabillity of other pipeline projects of the sort McCleod suggests.

The Arctic environment might be devastated by any oil spills especially any spill in the icy waters of the Beaufort Sea. Environmentalists and aboriginal groups would probably object to a northern route just as vehemently as they do to the Northern Gateway Project. For more see this article.

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