Mackenzie Proponents, NWT Government Sign Socio-Economic Deal

Imperial Oil Resources Ventures Limited, on behalf of the Mackenzie Gas Project co-venturers, announced Monday that the project coventurers have signed a comprehensive Socio-Economic Agreement (SEA) with the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The agreement outlines a broad range of socio-economic topics, with agreement between the parties in a number of specific areas related to the proposed project. These areas include training and employment, business opportunities, wellbeing, sustainable development, net effects on government, and ongoing monitoring of the proposed project, both during construction and operation. The agreement outlines commitments in specific areas including employment requirements and policies, hiring and procurement priorities for NWT and Aboriginal people, oil and gas training, transportation and infrastructure impacts, cultural preservation, safety and security, access to gas, and a monitoring advisory board (society) for the life of the project.

"This agreement is a significant step forward in the project's progress," said Randy Broiles, senior vice-president, Imperial Oil Limited, on behalf of the coventurers. "It defines the key areas of agreement and commitment between the project proponents and the government of the Northwest Territories, and establishes a foundation for moving forward together. More importantly, this agreement outlines our shared belief that the Mackenzie project has the potential to provide significant benefits to all stakeholders, in particular the people and communities of the North."

The agreement builds on the proponents' Environmental Impact Statement and incorporates input received from several years of consultation, community discussion and workshops. Now that the agreement has been signed and executed, details of the specific terms will be filed with the Joint Review Panel, which is currently conducting public hearings into the proponents' regulatory applications.

The Mackenzie Gas Project is being proposed by Imperial, ConocoPhillips Canada, Shell Canada, ExxonMobil Canada and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group (APG). The APG was formed in 2000 to represent the ownership interest of the Aboriginal peoples of the Northwest Territories in the proposed Mackenzie Valley natural-gas pipeline.

The project would include the development of an estimated six trillion cubic feet of natural gas resource in the three largest onshore fields discovered in the Mackenzie Delta and construction of associated pipelines and facilities. The project includes three anchor field developments, gas and natural-gas liquids gathering system pipelines and related facilities, and the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline with an initial design capacity of 1.2 billion cubic feet per day, and expandable to accommodate gas from other fields in the future.