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Eight First Nations to partner on Northern Courier Pipeline System

Don Horne   

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Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) has announced that it has provided up to a $40 million loan guarantee to support eight Indigenous Communities in the Wood Buffalo Region, to finance a 14.25 per cent ownership interest in the Northern Courier Pipeline System (NCP System) including the pipeline and associated storage facilities.

The participating Indigenous Communities are Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, Fort McMurray First Nation, Fort Chipewyan Metis Local 125, Fort McKay Metis Nation, Fort McMurray Local Council 1935, Willow Lake Metis Nation and Conklin Metis Local 193.

“This investment is more than a financial transaction, it is a step forward for Canada,” said Ron Quintal, President of Fort McKay Métis Nation. “The future of responsible extractive resource development in Canada must be one where Indigenous Communities are real partners that derive long-term benefits for housing, training and education.  This should be a model used across the country. Investment in the energy sector is a clear path for indigenous communities to finally realize economic reconciliation.”

The NCP System consists of 90 kilometres of bitumen and diluent pipeline connecting the Fort Hills Oil Sands project in Northern Alberta with Suncor’s facilities in Fort McMurray. Originally constructed by TransCanada Pipeline Limited (TCPL) in January of 2018, TCPL will transfer ownership of the NCP system in 2021 to the newly formed Northern Courier Pipeline Limited Partnership (NCPLP), which will be 85 per cent owned by the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and 15 per cent owned by a Limited Partnership between the Indigenous Communities and Suncor Energy.


The Limited Partnership ownership stake will see 14.25 per cent of the NCP system owned by the Indigenous Communities, with Suncor acting as operator and owner of the remaining 0.75 per cent.

“When evaluating proposals at AIOC, we are looking for projects that will result in long-term prosperity for the communities involved,” said Alicia Dubois, CEO of AIOC. “The NCP System will ensure that the eight Indigenous Communities involved have long term active participation and steady own-source revenue streams, the impacts of which will serve generations to come.”

This loan guarantee secures direct Indigenous ownership of pipeline infrastructure within the traditional territories of the eight Indigenous Communities involved and will enhance the contributions of each Community in the local economy of the Wood Buffalo Region.

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief, Allan Adam said, “The Northern Courier Pipeline opportunity represents an example of what is possible when Industry and Indigenous communities collaborate on Economic Reconciliation. Through embracing such partnerships long-term benefits are realized for the greater good.”


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