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February 13, 2003 --- Vol. 9, No. 17February 2003

Canadian government opens northern pipeline office

The Canadian government is opening an office in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, to lay the groundwork for a Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline.

Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister Robert Nault said Feb. 13 the Pipeline Readiness Office will help his department prepare for a pipeline application from industry.

He gave no indication whether the government anticipates a regulatory filing this year, but the decision reinforces Nault’s comments on Feb. 10 that an “announcement to move forward” is only days, or weeks away.

At that time, he said the government was “very keen to see a northern pipeline go forward.”

Nault said in his Feb. 13 statement that the government needed to position itself to respond to pipeline proposals and to enhance its capacity to deal with industry, coordinate with other government organizations and work with northerners.

He made no reference to efforts by the Aboriginal Pipeline Group to obtain C$70 million in financing to cover its costs of the preliminary design and regulatory work that has been under way for the past year and improve its chances of gaining a one-third equity stake in the pipeline.

Brush cleared, pipe laid out

The Joint Pipeline Office reported today that brush removal along the Kenai Kachemak pipeline right of way has been completed and pipe has been laid out along portions of the right of way to be welded, placed and buried.

The State Pipeline Coordinator's Office and U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Pipeline Safety have been monitoring the project, JPO said.

Tentative September date for Point Thomson draft EIS

The Joint Pipeline Office also said that the draft environmental impact statement for the Point Thomson gas cycling project is tentatively scheduled for release in September. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the lead agency for the EIS. A draft design basis has been submitted for review. The project includes two drilling sites, a dock and about 22 miles of pipeline.

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