"Canadian Gas Megaproject Gets Nod But Future Cloudy"

"Canada's energy regulator said on Thursday it approved plans for a C$16.2 billion ($16.1 billion) Arctic gas pipeline, a project that faces growing economic pressure as natural gas prices languish.

The National Energy Board, following six years of deliberations, said the Mackenzie Gas Project is in the public interest provided that the major oil companies that are backing it meet more than 200 environmental and socioeconomic conditions.

'We examined the benefits the project can bring. We found that they are large and varied,' the board said in its ruling. 'We also looked at the negative impacts. We found that they can be minimized and are acceptable.'

The project, first envisioned in the 1970s, is led by Imperial Oil Ltd. Its partners are Royal Dutch Shell, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp, and Aboriginal Pipeline Group.

The federal government still needs to sign off on the approval."

Jeffrey Jones and Scott Haggett report for Reuters December 17, 2010.

Friday, December 17, 2010