Despite continued opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline, energy firm Enbridge has committed an additional $150 million to that project in a show of commitment to its goal to carry oil from Alberta’s oil sands into northwestern British Columbia, allowing it to be easily shipped to Asia.
Enbridge began work on the project with a $300 million investment, but ensuing controversy due to the perceived environmental risks associated with the long distance pipeline have slowed progress, leaving many wondering if Enbridge would abandon the project altogether. (Read More: Enbridge Set to Invest $6.28 Billion in Oil Pipeline)
On the contrary, this latest show of confidence indicates that the company plans to battle its way to the pipeline’s completion.
“We definitely believe in this project, and we are prepared to go forward and invest that kind of capital to move this project toward sanction,” Enbridge’s Northern Gateway senior project director, Barry Horon, told the Globe and Mail.
Despite that confidence, environmental groups have increased the pressure they’ve been putting on both Enbridge and the Canadian government in an attempt to have the project stalled during an evaluation period in which environmental risks would be better assessed, but that opposition has gained little support among decision makers so far; with potentially billions of dollars in long term revenue for both the federal and provincial governments involved, that comes as no surprise. (Read More: TransCanada Faces Keystone XL Trouble in Texas)
With total costs expected to exceed $6.5 billion, Enbridge still has a long way to go, with the next 12 months being set aside for the drilling of hundreds of shallow wells that will allow for the assessment of the unseen terrain that the pipeline will need to cross on its path through the Rocky Mountains on its way to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Once the exact route has been determined, the next phase of the project will consist of measuring the amount of pressure that will be required to move different grades of crude over the necessary long distances.
Enbridge has not yet specified a completion date for the project.