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NEWS BULLETIN

August 29, 2001 --- Vol. 7, No. 106August 2001

Native blockades spread to British Columbia's Ladyfern play

Unease is spreading in British Columbia's Ladyfern area with aboriginal protesters selecting two new targets for blockades and moving into the heart of the province's major gas play.

Two weeks after forcing Petro-Canada to stop exploration drilling and a pipeline project, the Halfway River First Nation has taken action against Houston-based Anadarko and Vancouver-based Westcoast Energy.

Anadarko said it has pulled workers back from two projects and Westcoast said "certain demands" have been made relating to a gas treatment facility and planned pipeline, without saying how it had responded.

Petro-Canada's Kobe field is 80 miles southwest of Ladyfern, where explorers have discovered some of the largest onshore wells in Canadian history over the last 18 months.

Ladyfern production is now at 450 million cubic feet per day and Canadian Natural Resources has forecast 1.35 billion cubic feet per day in the near term.

But Indian leaders have warned they will confront the industry across the whole Northwest unless the Canadian and British Columbia governments deal with unresolved treaty rights and land claims and the cumulative impact of oil and gas activities on the environment.

At risk are plans for record drilling this winter and pipeline additions to handle production from finds by Anadarko, Murphy Oil, Apache, Canadian Natural and Alberta Energy Co.

A spokesman for Halfway River said Natives want to negotiate deals directly with the industry to get a greater share of oil and gas benefits.

Pierre Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said there is now an urgency to resolve the dispute, calling on the federal and provincial governments to open talks with the aboriginal communities.

But the federal Indian Affairs and Northern Development Department said the issues are a provincial responsibility and the British Columbia Department of Energy and Mines has so far taken no steps to start negotiations.

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