(CBC News via Eye on the Arctic, 5 April 2012) -- The Mackenzie Valley pipeline, an energy megaproject in Canada's North that has been proposed and debated for decades, has been put on hold again. The 1,196-kilometre line would have transported natural gas from the Beaufort Sea to North American markets. The partners behind the proposed $16.2 billion projected halted development because of low prices for natural gas. ConocoPhillips said Thursday that the five partners in the energy development consortium have suspended funding for the project, which would have transported up to 1.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The partners include an aboriginal group funded by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Imperial Oil Ltd., also of Calgary. ConocoPhillips said the decision was made in the first quarter of this year. "The co-venturers elected to suspend funding of the project due to a continued decline in market conditions and the lack of acceptable commercial terms," it said in a release. The announcement follows a decision less than a week ago by ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP and TransCanada, to work toward developing natural gas reserves on Alaska's North Slope, which would be assessed as an alternative to a natural gas pipeline through Alberta. The state of Alaska has offered up to $500 million in incentives to build a pipeline there. The National Energy Board approved the Mackenzie Valley project in December 2010. The price of natural gas, already at a 10-year low, fell further Thursday after the U.S. government reported a surprisingly large increase in supply. Gas for May delivery fell four cents to $2.11 per thousand cubic feet in New York at midday. The government said supplies expanded last week to a level that's 60.5 per cent higher than the five-year average.
Posted 7 April 2012; 1:17:22 PM. Permalink
(RIA Novosti, 5 April 2012) -- Russia intends to spend around 1.3 trillion rubles ($44 billion) on economic and social projects in the Arctic until 2020, the Russian minister for regional development, Viktor Basargin, said in an interview with the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta published on Thursday. The state budget is expected to provide some 503 billion rubles ($17 billion) to create new transportation corridors in the Arctic, develop new hydrocarbon deposits and social infrastructure, improve living standards of local population, maintain the environment and culture of indigenous peoples, the minister said. Another 724 billion rubles ($24.5 billion) is planned to be taken from regional budgets, he said. Businesses are expected to provide another 80 billion rubles ($2.7 billion). The figures are yet to be confirmed. Arctic territories, seen as the key to huge untapped natural resources, have increasingly been at the center of mounting disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark in recent years as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice, providing access to lucrative offshore oil and gas deposits. Russia is planning to deploy a combined-arms force by 2020 to guard its political and economic interests in the Arctic.
Posted 7 April 2012; 10:37:00 AM. Permalink