TransCanada Corp. announced Tuesday the 13th consent agreement with native communities along its proposed 900-kilometer (540-mile) Prince Rupert Gas Transmission (PRGT) delivery route for shale production across British Columbia.

The C$5 billion (US$3.8 billion) pipeline's construction depends on a forthcoming investment decision by the largest Asian entry in the 20-project lineup to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals on BC's northern coast, Pacific NorthWest LNG.

But the consent arrangement highlighted willingness among aboriginal groups to cooperate with LNG development, as cleaner, safer and less disruptive than proposed Alberta oil pipelines across BC to tanker ports.

The PRGT native deal includes 12 hereditary chiefs of Gitxsan (People of the River Mist) Nation, in a 53,000-square-kilometer (21,000-square-mile) territory along the Skeena River east of Pacific NorthWest's proposed terminal site at Prince Rupert.

As in all other BC native consent agreements details of community benefits granted in exchange for co-operation remain confidential, except for a general statement that the package includes economic, employment and undisclosed "other commitments."

Gitxsan hereditary Chief Geel Catherine Blackstock said, "I envision this as a great revitalize employment in our economically depressed upper Skeena region."

The outlook for the planned 3.2 Bcf/d LNG export scheme remains far from certain. After receiving government approvals this fall, Pacific NorthWest said international market conditions make a "total project review" necessary. A construction decision on the C$11 billion (US$8.5 billion) export terminal is predicted, but not promised, for early in 2017.