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Indians Force TransCanada to Cancel Ontario Expansion

Indians Force TransCanada to Cancel Ontario Expansion

TransCanada Pipelines Monday canceled part of its C$403 million system expansion project on its Canadian Mainline because of an inability to resolve negotiations with a local tribe of Indians, yet the pipeline company insists other parts of the expansion will continue. TransCanada would not disclose the nature of the disagreement except to say the parties could not resolve aboriginal and treaty rights issues as well as future economic opportunity issues.

Construction of a C$45 million, 18.6-mile pipeline loop near Hearst, ON, was canceled, pipeline officials said, because negotiators with TransCanada and the Constance Lake First Nation (CLFN) could not reach agreements in time to start construction. The project was expected to be completed before the spring thaw. Gary Davis, a TransCanada spokesman, said the stoppage will incur some undisclosed costs, but the bulk of the C$45 million will be diverted to other projects.

The company expressed confidence the expansion program's goal to deliver 100 MMcf/d of new gas to the eastern side of the continent by November will be achieved. "We negotiated with Constance Lake First Nation through the weekend," said Bob Reid, president, TransCanada Energy Transmission. "We have the flexibility to work around the situation, and have decided to do so."

Officials at TransCanada said the loop, which would have been located three miles southeast of the Constance Lake reserve, was being built to aid expansion for 2000, and it still could be constructed for that year if future negotiations are successful. Before this incident, TransCanada expected to have 108 MMcf/d flowing through 97 miles of new pipe, and provide another 26 MMcf/d through transportation services available in the marketplace by Nov. 1. "Now I guess it will have to flow through 78 miles of pipe," Davis said.

John Norris

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