(Bob Weber/The Canadian Press via Yahoo! News, 27 December 2009) -- Even at noon, Inuvik's weak December sun never seems to light the Arctic community brighter than twilight — no longer night, not quite day. It's a little like how businessmen have been feeling about their own prospects in the Mackenzie Delta community after seemingly endless delays in a project they've pinned their hopes on - the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline. "Everyone's hoping for a positive announcement and away we go," says Kurt Wainman, who's got a yard full of heavy equipment sitting idle just waiting for some nice, juicy oilpatch work. Sometime this week, a little of Wainman's limbo will lift. More than three years after its original deadline, the long-awaited Joint Review Panel will finally table its report on the pipeline's environmental and social effects. That report will then be combined with a National Energy Board's report on the project's engineering and economics. The package will go before the federal cabinet, which can accept or reject its recommendations. Doubts are gathering around the increasingly expensive pipeline as new U.S. natural gas sources threaten markets for Mackenzie gas and depress its price. And although some feel the review panel's report will revive momentum behind the $16-billion, 1,200-kilometre project, the final decision is still a ways off. "There's a series of things that make a project go: No. 1 in importance is economics," says Bob Hastings, an energy analyst at Canaccord Capital in Vancouver.
Posted 27 December 2009; 11:18:39 AM. Permalink