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West Coast Olefins inks deal with McLeod Lake Indian Band

West Coast Olefins has reached an agreement with the McLeod Lake Indian Band to possibly locate part of its planned petrochemical facility in the band’s territory.

In July last year it announced it had secured a 300-acre site in the BCR Industrial site for the plant.

“In keeping with WCOL’s principle that it strives to work with communities who show strong support for its initiatives, WCOL will be exploring the option of relocating the ethylene and polyethylene facilities within MLIB traditional territory,” according to a statement posted on the company’s website. “While we believe that our Prince George site is a good location for the ethylene facilities, optionality provides WCOL with flexibility to accommodate community needs.”

West Coast Olefins president Ken James told CKPG that the Prince George plant is still proceeding and that the McLeod Lake facility would straddle the Enbridge’s natural gas pipeline to extract condensate, a raw material for the petrochemical plant.

The ethylene plant and polyethylene facility at the BCR site would produce a polyethylene product that be shipped to growing Asian markets. Polyethylene is a common plastic used to make plastic bags, plastic films, and drink bottles.

The deal with the McLeod Lake Indian Band is a binding term sheet that outlines the key terms that will underpin an impact benefits agreement related to the “Natural Gas Liquids Recovery Plant that WCOL is planning to construct within MLIB’s traditional territory.”

Over the next four to five months the parties will work to reach agreement on all the terms and conditions to be included in the benefits agreement.

James said he is encouraged by the “openness and candor that have permeated the discussions. This critical factor has allowed us to reach an agreement in just two months.”

Chief Harley Chingee said, in the release, that he “believes that locating the facility in the MLIB traditional territory will provide an opportunity to participate in equity ownership, construction of the facility and long-term employment.”

West Coast Olefins and the McLeod Lake Indian Band will start looking for a suitable location for the plant and file an application for the project with the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission.

When the project was announced for Prince George it ran into a fair amount of opposition to locating an industrial facility within the already stressed Prince George airshed. West Coast Olefins president Ken James also upset the Lheidli T’enneh in December when he told BNN Bloomberg that local First Nations were supportive of the plant.

Lheidli T’enneh stated it does not support either of WCOL’s proposed projects “at this time,” and that the comments “harmed their relationship.”

West Coast Olefins is also facing a challenge from Enbridge itself, which is proposing to strip the condensate out of the pipeline near Chetwynd and ship it to Alberta for processing.

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