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CALGARY – Dave Tuccaro is not your stereotypical aboriginal leader impacted by the oil sands: He loves the industry, has become very wealthy because of it and is on a mission to ensure there is a pipeline to link the Alberta deposits to markets in Asia.
The founder, president and CEO of Tuccaro Inc., a treaty Indian from Fort Chipewyan and likely Canada’s most successful aboriginal entrepreneur, is a leading backer of the Eagle Spirit pipeline-and-upgrader proposal from Alberta to the British Columbia coast.
The project is orchestrating a big push to win B.C. and Alberta First Nations’ support just as Ottawa prepares to hand down a ruling on the rival Northern Gateway project, which is struggling with aboriginal opposition.
“What we want to do is to tell the [aboriginal] community: ‘This is your pipeline,’” the usually-private leader said in an interview on the sidelines of an awards ceremony organized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
“If we find out six months from now that they don’t want it, we will back off. But we know for sure, they know as well, that a pipeline is going to be built, from here to the West Coast. It’s in Canada’s best interest to sell our oil to somebody other than the United States.
“Why are we subsidizing oil to the U.S. when we can sell oil to China at world market price and make more money for Canada?” he asked.
As challenging as the Eagle Spirit plan seems — it would cost more than $50-billion, it’s complex and it promises the highest environmental safeguards to address First Nations’ worries about a spill — Mr. Tuccaro said there is no shortage of oil industry interest.
Several large oil sands players want to be shippers in the pipeline, announced April 14.
Mr. Tuccaro said aboriginals would own up to 50%. The size of equity participation of each community would be determined by how much pipeline crosses its lands. Aboriginals would be responsible for management, maintenance and spill response.
Eagle Spirit is headed by Calvin Helin, a Vancouver lawyer, entrepreneur and member of the Tsimshian First Nation in northwestern B.C. The Aquilini Group, owner of the Vancouver Canucks, is another backer.
But no one is better placed than Mr. Tuccaro to convince aboriginals that a lot of good can come from the oil sands business.
For the rest of this article, click here: http://business.financialpost.com/2014/05/14/this-is-your-pipeline-eagle-spirit-plan-is-in-canadas-best-interests-aboriginal-leader-says/?__lsa=13b0-76f8