November 08, 2004 --- Vol. 10, No. 101November 2004

Peace talks under way between Deh Cho and Canadian government

The Deh Cho First Nations and Canadian government negotiators have taken the first step towards settling a dispute that has threatened to block the proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

They met in Ottawa on Nov. 5 in a bid to avert two Deh Cho lawsuits, which are seeking an injunction to stop the environmental review process.

Deh Cho Grand Chief Herb Norwegian gave his most positive assessment yet of the outlook, telling reporters: “We’re just trying to get everything back on track.”

He said both sides want a solution “as quick as possible to keep the whole process moving forward.”

Norwegian said an out-of-court deal would be in the best interests of the Deh Cho and government.

Although a non-disclosure agreement is in effect, Norwegian said an expanded role for the Deh Cho on the environmental panel is on the table.

About 40 percent of the pipeline route covers lands in the lower Northwest Territories the Deh Cho want to see included in a self-government agreement. Because the aboriginal community does not have a land claim it is arguing for a stronger voice on the review panel.

Seismic planned in Forest exploration license areas this winter

Veritas DGC has applied to the state of Alaska to shoot 2-D and 3-D seismic this winter in the Susitna basin west of the Susitna River.

The Alaska Office of Project Management and Permitting said Nov. 4 that work is planned between mid-December 2004 and April 2005 between the Yenlo Hills and Beluga Mountain to the west and the Susitna River and Parks Highway to the east. The general area is between township 25 north, range 11 west, Seward Meridian, and T25N-R5W on the north and T19N-R11W and T19N-R5W on the south.

This is the area where Forest Oil holds two exploration licenses, both issued in September 2003 by the Alaska Division of Oil and Gas for seven-year terms.

License 1, the more northerly of the contiguous license areas, covers 386,207 acres and has a work commitment of $2.52 million. License 2, to the south, covers 471,747 acres and has a work commitment of $3 million.

The license areas lie west of the Susitna River northwest of Wasilla.

Editor’s note: See full stories in the Nov. 14 edition of Petroleum News.

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