Canada's lead natural gas producers on the Mackenzie Delta have stepped up the pace of their C$4 billion project by inviting submissions from pipeline companies.
The Mackenzie Delta Producers Group, led by ExxonMobil subsidiary Imperial Oil Ltd., has given the pipelines until mid-September to answer the request for proposals.
A spokesman for Imperial said Aug. 27 that the producer consortium — Imperial, Conoco Canada Ltd., Shell Canada Ltd. and ExxonMobil Canada — is seeking ideas and concepts that could add value to the case that it being developed for regulatory applications.
He said the guidelines offered to the pipeline companies range from ownership to non-ownership of the delivery system, covering 850 miles from the Delta along the Mackenzie Valley to Alberta.
The priority for the producers is to ensure they don't overlook any value-added aspects within the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed last fall by the producers and the Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline Corp.
Duke Energy, TransCanada PipeLines and Enbridge, the three dominant pipelines operating in Canada, are all interested in the request and believe they have constructive ideas to offer. Industry observers believe Houston-based El Paso might also be a contender.
There is no binding obligation on the producers to accept any of the proposals, which are due by mid-September.
The producer group is then expected to take several months to evaluate the suggestions as part of its C$250 million "project definition" phase, which is expected to see applications filed with regulators in mid-2003, with decisions expected in 2005 and 2006 and deliveries starting in the 2008-2010 period.
The producer group, which has reserves of 5.8 trillion cubic feet, is eyeing pipeline space of 800 million to 1 billion cubic feet per day.
The Mackenzie Valley Aboriginal Pipeline's target participation, to qualify for an equity stake in the pipeline, is 400 million to 500 million cubic feet per day, drawn from other Delta and Mackenzie Valley discoveries.