ENBRIDGE SAYS it has signed up the majority of the aboriginal groups who were qualified to take on an equity stake in the company’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines project.
“Almost 60 per cent of eligible Aboriginal communities along the proposed right of way, representing 60 per cent of the First Nations’ population (and 80 per cent of the combined First Nations’ and Metis’ population) have agreed to be part owners of the proposed Northern Gateway pipelines,” the company said in a statement released this morning.
The equity stake amounts to 10 per cent of the proposed $5.5 billion project to transport Alberta oil sands crude to a marine export terminal at Kitimat.
“Half of the equity units taken up went to groups in British Columbia, and the other half to groups in Alberta,” said the statement in attributing the information to Enbridge official Paul Stanway.
“The most significant way in which aboriginal people can benefit from the project is by owning a stake in it and sharing in the revenue it produces,” the statement continued.
“Through equity ownership, aboriginal people will be able to generate a significant new and stable revenue stream that could help achieve the priorities of their communities – such as improved health care, education and housing.
“The long-term financial benefits for participating as shareholders will be significant.
“Aggregate equity ownership is expected to generate approximately $280 million in net income to aboriginal communities over the first 30 years.
“Becoming an owner in this project means aboriginal groups are going to see significant cash flow within the first year of operations,” the statement added.
The Enbridge statement did indicate there are additional economic benefits to be gained by aboriginal people.
“While the equity offering is significant, it represents less than one-third of the total potential aboriginal benefits we are proposing and still developing,” the statement said in indicating the value would be worth $1 billion.
The statement did not identify the aboriginal groups and Enbridge officials have said before that it is up to the native groups to identify themselves.