Sometimes new leadership means a change in priorities. That can mean old projects can slide to the backburner.
That’s not the case with Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band’s commitment to develop an industrial park north of the city and build a plant to recover by-products from the Enbridge natural gas pipeline that feeds much of B.C.
“I’m here to reaffirm the Lheidli T’enneh support for two projects,” newly-elected Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan said Wednesday. “The first one is to continue to work with McLeod Lake to develop our industrial park north of Prince George and the second is our community’s commitment to work with McLeod Lake Indian Band and Formula Capital Corporation in constructing a liquids recovery facility.”
That commitment was also reaffirmed by Jayde Duranleau, Deputy Chief of the McLeod Lake Indian Band.
“We very excited to develop this new project,” she said. “It shows a huge partnership with First Nations … It demonstrates a really good path forward for our First Nations, partnering with a lot of major projects. Major projects should partner with First Nations and First Nations should have that equity stake.”
The partnership includes Formula Capital Corporation, a part of the BID Group of Companies, which will develop the projects.
“We’re committed to doing whatever we can do contribute,” Paul Tiefensee, CEO, said.
The challenge, of course, is finding the money to develop the project. West Coat Olefins has proposed a similar plant for the area and, at one time were working with the McLeod Lake Indian Band. West Coast Olefins estimated the cost at $5.6 billion. The Lheidli T’enneh/McLeod Lake plant likely won’t be quite as expensive but it’s still in the billions.
“We’re still in the pre-feasibility study to see exactly what the scope of this project will be,” said Tiefensee. “It will be some sort of a straddle plant to extract (byproduct) and then what happens after that, we’re still developing. It could be anywhere from a $1 billion to $2 billion investment.”
He said they are pursuing investors and developing the plan.
“We need an extraction partner and we need a buyer,” he said. “How far are we down that road? We’re down that road. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have some of that figured out … We understand the costs, we understand what the scope is.”
Another hurdle is fact there is competition for the natural gas byproduct that would be their raw material.
West Coast Olefins is still working on developing its project and Enbridge has suggested it might build a straddle plant at Taylor and siphoning of the material to plants in Alberta.
“There’s only room for one project,” said Tiefensee. “We have two First Nations standing here who are probably some of the strongest in Canada. I would say they have a pretty good shot at getting those approvals.”