Mackenzie Valley pipeline project officially one for the history books – North

The much anticipated but long-doubted Mackenzie Valley pipeline project has gone out with a sigh.

On Friday, Imperial Oil posted a press release to its website announcing the project’s proponents had dissolved the joint-venture partnership driving the Mackenzie Valley Gas Project. The joint-venture included Imperial Oil Resources Limited, ConocoPhillips Canada, ExxonMobil Canada and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.

By 2016, when the National Energy Board approved an extension of the project’s deadline to begin construction in 2022, the estimated cost of the project had grown to more than $16 billion. According to Friday’s press release, current natural gas prices do not justify the project, originally approved by the NEB at the end of 2010 after six years of review.

Mervin Gruben, mayor of Tuktoyaktuk, the small N.W.T. coastal community with much to gain if the 1,200-kilometre pipeline stretching from the Mackenzie River Delta to northern Alberta had been built, said he only learned of the project’s demise on Wednesday. He took the news in stride — “We all knew that was coming” — but said it was a sad day for many.

Mervin Gruben’s Tuktoyaktuk-based E. Gruben’s Transport was a major contractor on the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway. (Mackenzie Scott/CBC)

“We had a lot of high hopes, we even built a new hotel in Inuvik, the Mackenzie Hotel, in the hopes [the pipeline] was going to take off,” Gruben said.

Gruben said the hotel struggled in the beginning but had since found its legs, unlike others who invested in the hopes of a pipeline. “So many other businesses didn’t succeed.”

“This pipeline was really just a pipe dream,” he said. “We gambled on it and a lot of people lost.”

He said he remembers when the project really began to take shape in 2000, adding that the project’s review panel took too long approve the work.

“It was just a farce the way they wasted their time doing all these studies and all these meetings all over the…

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