LNG Canada signs up First Nation support

28 April 2016, Week 16 Issue 415

LNG Canada has awarded site preparation work to the Ledcor-Haisla partnership at Kitimat, in British Columbia. A statement from the Ledcor Group noted the award on April 26. First Nations have faced tough decisions in the face of energy investment in BC and Alberta. The jobs on offer make an attractive pitch for such communities but environmental concerns make large infrastructure developments contentious.  The Ledcor-Haisla partnership won work from LNG Canada in December 2015, on the Little Creek contract. This covered mobilisation to site, initial site water management, access road construction and snow clearing, Ledcor said. The new contract, which was awarded in February, includes grubbing, excavation and grading of the workforce accommodation centre. 

Ledcor is a construction company with interests in a number of areas, including oil and gas. The company has been working with Haisla Nation on various LNG related projects since June 2011. 

“We value our strong partnership with the Haisla Nation, formed on respect, trust and a willingness to work together for mutual success,” said Ledcor’s vice president, Quentin Huillery. 

Speaking at a contract signing ceremony in Kitimat, representatives said the contract would bring lasting benefits to the Haisla people and the local community.  

“As LNG opportunities present themselves to the Haisla we wanted to ensure benefits for our people beyond a few payments here and there,” said Haisla’s chief councillor, Ellis Ross. “Joint ventures such as this one with Ledcor provide our people with training opportunities and employment, and an ability to partner with and learn from leading Canadian companies.”

The Ledcor-Haisla ceremony came shortly after BC’s government, on April 20, noted the signing of a deal with the West Moberly First Nations. The group has signed a pipeline agreement on TransCanada’s proposed Coastal GasLink. It is the third Treaty 8 First Nation to have signed such a deal. 

Under the deal, the West Moberly will receive an initial payment of C$201,000 (US$159,600). Should the pipeline proceed to construction, another C$1 million (US$794,000) will be payable and another C$1 million once the link is in service. The group will also receive skills funding.

TransCanada announced a deal with the West Moberly in January, saying it had signed 11 such project agreements. 

The Coastal GasLink project will cost C$4.8 billion (US$3.8 billion), of which 32% will be spent in BC. The 670-km pipeline will run from the Groundbirch area to the planned LNG Canada facility near Kitimat. 

West Moberly’s chief, Roland Wilson, said securing the future through jobs and skills training was a “key responsibility between one generation and the next. Our early and meaningful participation in this developing industry has given us the opportunity to ensure that we play an active role in shaping if, when or how LNG develops in British Columbia.”

TransCanada has signed other deals with First Nations in support of various other infrastructure projects. Earlier in April, it signed agreements with the Takla Lake First Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band on the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project, which will run to Petronas’ planned Pacific NorthWest LNG development, at Lelu Island. In February, it struck a deal with the Carry The Kettle First Nation on its Energy East Pipeline, which will carry crude across Canada, to the east. 

Even while some groups were signing on in support of LNG projects in BC, a group of First Nation leaders visited Ottawa in order to protest at Petronas’ PNW LNG plan. Support for the plan had come from elected leaders, they said, while ignoring hereditary leaders’ objections. 

The Treaty 8 chiefs issued a statement on April 26, noting the establishment of a new protocol with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. The statement said it was intended to help create a new relationship with the provincial government.