“Indigenous partnerships with oil and gas advance the path of Reconciliation.”
— Dale Swampy, President, National Coalition of Chiefs
Indigenous communities and businesses are becoming increasingly important players in Canadian oil and gas, and that’s good for Canada and the world.
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.
Oil and gas transforms Indigenous communities
The LNG Canada project, currently being built on the traditional lands of the Haisla Nation in northern British Columbia, has been transformational for the community, according to Chief Councillor Crystal Smith.
The project has created many employment opportunities and training programs. It’s also allowed the community to invest in social programming, as well as a new apartment complex and a new health centre that for the first time includes space for traditional healing.
“Growing up today in our community has no boundaries — it’s absolutely amazing to see that if my girls want to be a carpenter or an electrician, there’s nobody saying you’re not going to get funded for school. If they want to do that, they’re going to be able to do it,” Smith says.
The Haisla Nation is 50 per cent owner of the proposed Cedar LNG project, which is planned to start operating in 2027.
Benefits to Indigenous communities are increasing
Together, the LNG Canada project and associated Coastal GasLink pipeline have spent more than $4.3 billion with Indigenous and local businesses. And 16 Indigenous communities will become part owners of Coastal GasLink when the project is completed.
In 2019, oil sands producers spent $2.4 billion with 275 Indigenous businesses, up from $1.5 billion with 263 Indigenous businesses in 2015.
The Trans Mountain Expansion Project alone has signed more than $3.2 billion in contracts with Indigenous-owned businesses, and employed more than 2,100 Indigenous workers. In total, 69 First Nations along the pipeline route have signed mutual benefit agreements worth over $600 million. Indigenous groups are also in the process of seeking an ownership stake in Trans Mountain when the expansion is completed.
One of the largest Indigenous business investments in Canada to date is Fort McKay and Mikisew Cree First Nations’ $545 million purchase of a 49 per cent stake in the Fort Hills oil sands project’s East Tank Farm.
Overall, there are more Indigenous ownership agreements in place than ever before. Other examples include:
- Haisla Nation + Cedar LNG
- Nisga’a Nation + Ksi Lisims LNG
- Miawpukek First Nation + LNG Newfoundland and Labrador
- Indigenous Communities Syndicate + Cascade Power Project
- Reconciliation Energy Transition + Polaris Carbon Capture and Storage
These ownership agreements have the potential to result in long-lasting partnerships that will benefit generations to come.
The complete transition to alternative and renewable energy is decades away
Today, only 12% of the world’s energy supply is met by renewable energy. Meanwhile over 53% of energy supply is met by oil and gas. Although the supply of renewable and alternative energy is expected to grow over the next 30 years, overall demand for energy is expected to grow even more. As the world gradually transitions to a more diverse energy mix, oil and gas will continue to remain critical.
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.
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