Imperial Oil is more optimistic than it has been in the last five or six years that the Mackenzie Gas Project will proceed, regardless of delays caused by the Canadian federal election and in wrapping up the regulatory process, said chief executive officer Bruce March.
Speaking to a Peters & Co. North American Oil and Gas Conference in Toronto, he said Imperial, which controls about half of the 6 trillion cubic feet of Mackenzie Delta gas backing the project, has been encouraged by recent pledges by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to facilitate development of Arctic energy resources.
It is the second time in five months that March has offered an upbeat outlook for the MGP, regardless of expectations that cost estimates are likely to rise well above the C$16.2 billion estimate released last year.
In May, speaking to Imperial’s annual meeting for the first time, he said the company is “excited” about the MGP.
But then and again in Toronto on Sept. 9 he said the focus is squarely on developing a “commercially sound” project generating stakeholder support and buy-in.
Imperial negotiating ‘proper fiscal framework’ for MackenzieMarch told the Peters & Co. conference that Imperial, 69.6 percent owned by ExxonMobil, is negotiating with the Canadian government to establish a “proper fiscal framework” for the MGP, noting that the government has shown greater interest in the project over the past nine months than ever before.
While counting on government infrastructure spending to open up the Arctic region to exploration and development and its assistance in securing environmental and land-use permits, March said there will be no big federal handouts for the MGP, echoing his earlier comments that there will be no government “giveaways” to the MGP partners.
He said the federal election called for Oct. 14 puts a short-term damper on negotiations.
Pending the election outcome, March has said there is little that can be accomplished on unresolved access agreements with aboriginal communities along the proposed pipeline right-of-way.
Northwest Territories Industry Minister Bob McLeod told reporters the federal government can help by reaching fiscal terms with the MGP proponents and by ensuring the regulatory review is concluded in a timely manner.
He, too, expressed concern that the MGP has been sidelined by the election campaign.
But he told a provincial energy ministers conference in Saskatchewan he will ask candidates and parties to make the pipeline a priority.