As proposed Canadian crude oil export pipelines struggle to get built, one project is gaining momentum — the First Nations-led, $16 billion Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd. pipeline and energy corridor between Alberta and the northern British Columbia coast.
The project is twice the size of the Northern Gateway project rejected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and has secured support from First Nations from Bruderheim, Alta., through Northern B.C., to Grassy Point, B.C.
Major Canadian oil producers including Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Meg Energy Corp. also want it to go ahead, while investment broker AltaCorp Capital Inc. has been lined up to organize financing. The pipeline’s right of way would be on an energy corridor that would be pre-approved by First Nations to also house gas pipelines, hydro lines and fiber optic cable. The Aquilini Group of Vancouver is also a backer.
“It’s an exciting time here,” chairman and president Calvin Helin said in an interview. “We developed a model, particularly for the ocean, that has a higher environmental standard than the federal government is proposing anywhere else in Canada.”
The project’s major obstacle, however, is the federal government, specifically the tanker moratorium for British Columbia’s northern coast announced by the Prime Minister last November, at the same time as he cancelled Northern Gateway.