N.W.T. considers pipeline to the Arctic Ocean
Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod waves while being recognized by the Speaker in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
The Northwest Territories announced Thursday it will begin a feasibility study that could be the first step towards construction of an oil pipeline along the MacKenzie Valley to the Arctic Ocean.
The study will be done with the backing and co-operation of regional aboriginal governments, according to N.W.T Premier Bob McLeod in a speech, the text of which was provided to reporters ahead of the announcement.
"Our resources have been stranded for too long.
"We know we need to find a way to get our resources to market and it is time for us to take a serious look at the northern option. We recognize that there will be a lot of questions about this option, and we intend to answer them."
McLeod said the study his government will lead will examine the possibility of building a pipeline, communications, and transportation corridor to the Arctic Ocean.
"We are not proposing a specific infrastructure project with this study. What we are is proposing to do a thorough review of the issues, opportunities and challenges that might be associated with developing a corridor along the Mackenzie Valley," McLeod said.
Construction of any project would likely be years away, if at all.
It's not the first time a proposed pipeline along the MacKenzie Valley has been proposed. The idea of a natural gas pipeline was first put forward in the 1970s but met significant opposition from environmental and aboriginal groups.
McLeod concedes such a corridor will require rigorous study from all angles but says northern Canada's ability to develop its own resources requires access to tidewater.
"Finding collective solutions to shared problems only makes sense," McLeod said.