As global demand for oil and natural gas has increased, so has interest in the largely untapped resources of Canada's Arctic. With the advancement of technology and more than 40 years of exploration, development of these resources may soon intensify. This potential increase in activity can be both an opportunity and a concern for stakeholders.
The Arctic region is a vulnerable ecosystem and changes in climate are being experienced. Additionally, several species are in population decline, negatively affecting biodiversity and those who participate in aspects of a traditional lifestyle, including hunting, trapping and fishing.
The North is also home to Aboriginal peoples who have historic, cultural, economic and legal ties to their territories. They negotiated land claims and self-government agreements to increase their participation in and control of their land, resources and environment. They want to continue to be meaningful participants in the northern and national economy while at the same time ensuring protection of the environment, wildlife and a traditional way of life.
While we do not yet have operations in the Arctic, our collaborative and consultative approach is aimed at creating a plan for Arctic development that respects and addresses stakeholder priorities and concerns.
We’ve been envisioning our future in Canada’s Arctic for over 40 years. We began exploring in the Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea in the late 1960s and have since acquired significant on- and off-shore discovery licenses in the region.
Our first planned development is the Parsons Lake field—one of the major gas discoveries in the Mackenzie Delta. Plans include two production sites, an airstrip and a gravel road connecting the airstrip to the northern production site. Parsons Lake is one of three anchor field developments of the Mackenzie Gas Project, a proposed field development and pipeline project that would transport natural gas from the Mackenzie Delta to North American markets.
Since 2007, the pace and scale of our work in the Arctic has slowed as the Mackenzie Gas Project advances through the regulatory process. Some facets of our environmental, training and stakeholder engagement programs have either slowed down or remained static. We have maintained our focus on engagement related to the regulatory and approvals process, including:
Our goal continues to be the responsible development of energy resources in a manner that is respectful of Aboriginal and northern values and contributes to the sustainability of Arctic communities and our business.