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British Columbia secures 90% of First Nations agreements needed for LNG-related pipe projects

Houston — The British Columbia government has entered into 64 natural gas pipeline benefits agreements with 29 eligible First Nations, more than 90% of the agreements that need to be negotiated along the routes of four pipelines proposed to carry gas to planned LNG export terminals along the province's western coast.

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The agreements are part of the Canadian province's plan to partner with First Nations on LNG opportunities, the BC Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation said in a statement Thursday.

The four pipeline projects are: Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline, Coastal GasLink Pipeline, Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission and the Pacific Trail Pipeline.

Under the agreements, the First Nations will allow the pipeline to traverse their traditional territories, to which they hold aboriginal rights and title.

In exchange for entering into agreement with the province, each First Nations group will receive "milestone" payments at certain points along the pipeline process, a ministry spokesman said Friday.

These include: an initial payment and subsequent payments when the pipeline starts construction and when it goes into production, as well as ongoing benefit payments for the life of the project, a spokesman said.

To date, 17 of the 19 First Nations along the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline route have pipeline benefits agreements in place with the province.

The agreements with 14 First Nations along the pipeline route are public and the other agreements will be made public as they take effect.

The Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline Project is a proposed 900-kilometer (560-mile) pipeline to deliver gas from the Hudson's Hope area to the planned Pacific NorthWest LNG facility near Prince Rupert.

"The pipeline will form a vital link from the gas fields of northeastern BC to the proposed LNG facility should development of the facility proceed," the statement said.

The province also has reached agreements with 17 of the 20 First Nations along the proposed pipeline route of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project, a 670-kilometer (415-mile) gas pipeline from the Dawson Creek area to the proposed LNG Canada facility near Kitimat.

Fourteen First Nations have public agreements and other agreements will be made public as they take effect.

In addition, the BC government has reached benefits agreements with 15 of 19 First Nations along the proposed route of the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project, a pipeline of about 850 kilometers (530 miles) that would carry gas from production areas in northeast BC to BG Canada's proposed LNG export facility on Ridley Island, near Prince Rupert.

All 16 First Nations located along the proposed route of the proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline Project have come together to form the First Nations Limited Partnership.

The province has an agreement with the FNLP that will provide an estimated $32 million in direct benefits during the construction phases of the project, a proposed 480-kilometer pipeline to deliver gas from Summit Lake, BC, to the Kitimat LNG facility site at Bish Cove on the northwest coast.

--Jim Magill,
--Edited by Lisa Miller,