As news reports have surfaced regarding a ‘leaked’ letter that purported to show that the Pacific Trails Pipeline could be sold to an oil or bitumen transport company, Chevron responded quickly saying information being released was inaccurate.
Gillian Robinson with Chevron’s external communications says that the only way the PTP pipeline — which is proposed to supply the Kitimat LNG project with natural gas if it reaches a construction stage — could be sold to any company with an interest in oil transportation would be if every member of the First Nations Limited Partnership tied to the pipeline agreed to such a change.
The FNLP is an association of First Nations who have signed on to an economic benefit deal with Chevron regarding the natural gas pipeline, making them partners in the pipeline project.
A report surfaced on October 14 from Vice.com that a letter from Chevron vice-president Rod Maier was leaked from the Moricetown band that showed the company wanted permission to be able to sell the PTP pipeline to companies seeking permits to build oil pipelines.
A news release issued from the Moricetown band in August this year counters the claim, saying that the band and Chief, and members of the Wet’swuet’en Hereditary Chiefs, “have secured commitments from officials of the Province of British Columbia, Chevron Canada Limited, Apache Canada Ltd., and the First Nations Group Limited Partnership that no oil will be transported in the proposed natural gas Pacific Trail Pipeline Project owned by Chevron and Apache.”
Fifteen First Nations have signed on to the FNLP, but as of now the Moricetown band has not signed on as the 16th member, which would cover all the affected First Nations on the route.
“That information [in media reports] is really muddled,” said Robinson. “But there is an agreement with Chevron and the Moricetown band that we will not convert the pipeline to an oil pipeline.”
She further added that the PTP line has “never been designed to transport oil,” and will be needed for at least 20 years if constructed to supply Kitimat LNG.
She also added that it won’t be possible to convert the PTP line to a bitumen pipeline without an entirely new regulatory process, which includes consultation with First Nations.
“This means any company with plans to use the PTP as an oil pipeline would have to start back at square one,” she said. “There have never been any plans nor are there any future plans to convert the PTP to an oil pipeline.”