The CEO of Enbridge inc., Pat Daniel, says if his company isn’t able to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline to Kitimaat, the company would examine the possibility of having the Pipeline go to Prince Rupert instead.
“We will relook at (Prince) Rupert, we will do whatever we can to find the best solution for Canada, but our information and our engineering studies and environmental studies suggest that Kitimat is the best location,” Daniel said during an interview with Reuters in China.
The company did include a plan for having the pipeline go to Prince Rupert as a possible alternative to Kitimat in their application to the National Energy Board (see 4.2.2).
The plan is not detailed — which isn’t surprising since the plan was rejected in favour of Kitimat – but it would have the pipeline head to Prince Rupert which was considered along with Kitimat as a possible location to ship the bitumen to Asia.
The problem with the Prince Rupert plan was the Skeena Valley. As anyone who has driven from Prince Rupert to Terrace knows, the Skeena Valley is actually quite narrow (being taken up mostly by the river itself) and is lined with numerous tall rocky mountains, and fed into by many smaller streams and river valleys. Building a pipeline across this area would be a technical and financial didn’t make technical or financial sense.
“Pipelines constructed along these rivers would be exposed to challenging hydrotechnical issues, and to avalanches and rock slides in the narrow valleys. Access and watercourse crossing construction, particularly over the Kasiks, Khyex and Skeena Rivers, was anticipated to be difficult,” reads the pipeline application.
“Challenging silt and erosion control requirements would result from varying water flows in high-value fish habitat, and potentially serious issues could result from exposure to avalanches and rockslides in the narrow valleys. Costs to mitigate the potential environmental effects were anticipated to be high.
Company spokesperson Paul Stanway told the Prince Rupert Northern View that their CEO was just answering a hypothetical question from a reporter, and that the company feels that the best and safest option for the pipeline is to end in Kitimat.
Daniel was one of over 40 different Canadian executives taken along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his official visit to China. Reuters also asked him if his company would need to offer First Nations groups more when trying to negotiate deals with them.
Despite that the only First Nation to publicly sign a deal with them, the Gixsan, just as publicly withdrew from it a few weeks later, Daniel says that the 10 per cent stake in the pipeline being offered is generous enough.
“We think the financial package we’re offering is very, very strong, so we don’t have any intent (or) consideration on changing that,” Daniel told Reuters.