Indigenous Ownership of Energy Projects Matters
Indigenous businesses and communities are becoming increasingly important players in Canadian oil and gas, and that’s good for Canada and the world.
The gold standard in partnership is Indigenous equity ownership in resource projects, which gives communities more say in how development happens and provides long-term revenue that reduces reliance on government support.
More involvement and leadership by Indigenous communities means more incorporation of traditional knowledge in protecting the environment. And it means a pathway out of poverty for communities that have struggled.
The world needs responsibly produced oil and gas now, and will long into the future on the path to decarbonization.
Canada’s oil and gas is produced in a responsible way – and in growing partnership with Indigenous people.
Indigenous Energy Solutions
“Today, communities around the world have seen their energy supplies threatened and prices rise dramatically. This has been hard on people and the environment, but Canada’s Indigenous communities are ready to answer with energy solutions.
We can give people around the world access to affordable energy, which is fundamental to reducing poverty for communities everywhere. We have firsthand experience of how devastating poverty can be and we want to help others avoid it.
Protecting the environment will always be a top priority.”
– Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith & Miawpukek First Nation Chief Mi’sel Joe, March 2023 report published by Energy for a Secure Future
The Haisla Nation is 50% owner of the proposed Cedar LNG project, the world’s first Indigenous-led LNG terminal
Indigenous communities in Alberta and B.C. launched ownership of oil and gas pipelines in 2022
Together, the Trans Mountain Expansion, LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink projects have spent about $9 billion with Indigenous-owned and local businesses
Since 2014, Indigenous employment in Canada’s oil and gas sector has increased by more than 20%, reaching 10,400 jobs in 2020
Benefits to Indigenous communities are increasing
Indigenous ownership of Canadian energy projects reached a major milestone in March 2023, when the provincial and federal governments issued approval for the Cedar LNG project to proceed.
The $3 billion project, owned jointly by the Haisla Nation and Pembina Pipeline, is targeted to start operations in 2027. With global LNG demand booming, Cedar would be the world’s first Indigenous-led LNG project.
Indigenous communities will have a stake in the LNG Canada project development as well, with 16 communities to acquire a 10% stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline once complete in 2023.
In Alberta, 23 First Nation and Métis communities are now approximately 12 per cent owners of seven operating Enbridge oil sands pipelines, the largest Indigenous energy transaction ever in North America.
Overall, there are more Indigenous ownership agreements in place than ever before. Other examples include:
- Nisga’a Nation + Ksi Lisims LNG
- Fort McKay, Mikisew Cree First Nations + Fort Hills East Tank Farm
- Astisiy Limited Partnership + Northern Courier Pipeline
- Indigenous Communities Syndicate + Cascade Power Project
- Miawpukek First Nation + LNG Newfoundland and Labrador
Meanwhile, industry spending with Indigenous-owned businesses is growing. Together, the LNG Canada project, Coastal GasLink pipeline and Trans Mountain expansion have spent approximately $9 billion with Indigenous and local businesses. Indigenous groups are in the process of seeking an ownership stake in Trans Mountain when the expansion is completed.
These ownership agreements have the potential to result in long-term lasting partnerships that will benefit generations to come.
Spotlight on Natural Gas and LNG
Global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is growing fast, driven by emerging economies in Asia and the energy crisis worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Demand is expected to nearly double to reach 700 million tonnes per year by 2040.
Indigenous communities are leading the future of Canada’s enormous LNG potential, with ownership of major proposed projects like Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG.
Canadian LNG is expected to have among the world’s lowest emissions per tonne due to a colder climate, lower methane emissions from natural gas production, and the use of hydroelectricity to power operations.
Canada’s LNG exports can make a meaningful difference reducing emissions by helping reduce reliance on coal. LNG from Canada could reduce emissions in Asia by 188 million tonnes per year through 2050, according to Wood Mackenzie. That’s the equivalent of removing all cars from Canadian roads.
Canada can meet the world’s energy needs
With responsibly produced oil and gas – developed in growing partnership with Canada’s Indigenous communities.
The Canadian oil sands is the third-largest oil reserve on the planet, with an estimated 162 billion barrels of oil reserves. It is the world’s only major oil basin where producers have jointly committed to the target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Canada also has over 77 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves — gas that, when exported as LNG, can help reduce world emissions by replacing coal power in Asia and beyond.
For more than a decade, Indigenous communities have been advancing their participation in Canadian LNG projects.
The world needs more — and more responsible — energy.
Canada can meet that demand.
Explore More Content
Learn more about how Canadian oil and gas is being produced in growing partnership with Canada’s Indigenous communities.
More Indigenous communities are taking the lead in oil & gas
A growing number of Canada’s Indigenous communities are becoming owners of oil and gas projects that can allow them to help reduce environmental impacts and…Read More
Canada’s Indigenous communities: key partners in responsible oil and gas development
Karen Ogen-Toews, former elected chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, says that developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that prioritize the environment, consultation and engagement…Read More
The story you don’t hear: how Indigenous people employed in oil & gas are thriving
Canada’s energy sector is raising the standard of living for many Indigenous people, says an Indigenous oil and gas contractor who employs dozens of people…Read More
Canada: a global leader in carbon capture and storage
Canada’s largest oil sands producers are “in full-scale development mode” on a major joint project designed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and propel the…Read More