Collaboration between northern First Nations, Métis leads to pipeline partnership

Collaboration between northern First Nations, Métis leads to pipeline partnership

Investments from the private sector, coupled with $40 million in loan guarantee support from the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC), and a partnership with Suncor Energy will allow eight Indigenous communities from northeastern Alberta to share in $16 million in annual revenue from the Northern Courier Pipeline System.

In 2019, Suncor obtained the rights to TC Energy’s 15 per cent of the pipeline. The 90 km Northern Courier carries bitumen/diluent from the Fort Hills Oil Sands project to the East Tank Farm. The $1.3 billion purchase was made with the intention of forming a partnership with the eight Indigenous communities.

For more than two years, the Indigenous communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo—the First Nations of Athabasca Chipewyan, Fort McMurray, and Chipewyan Prairie and the Métis communities of Fort McKay, Willow Lake, Conklin, Fort McMurray, and Fort Chipewyan—have been in discussions with the AIOC to secure a loan guarantee.

The formation of the Astisiy Limited Partnership now sees the Indigenous communities owning a 95 per cent share of the pipeline, and Suncor the remaining five per cent. Suncor will continue to operate the line.

 “We’ve been here for generations throughout the region. This is the only region you really see that collaboration, that cooperation between First Nations and Métis. It’s something to aspire to for the rest of Canada,” said Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis Nation.

“We are realizing real tangible economic reconciliation.”

 “The Astisiy partnership is going to provide stable and structured income for …

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