Suncor Energy has signed agreements with eight Indigenous communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to acquire all of TC Energy’s 15% interest in the Norther Courier Pipeline LP. The value of the share is about $1.3 billion.
This partnership includes Suncor, three First Nations and five Metis communities: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, Conklin Metis Local 193, Fort Chipewyan Metris Local 125, Fort McKay Metis Nation, McMurray Metis, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation, and Willow Lake Metis Nation.
Suncor obtained the rights to purchase TC Energy’s 15% of the pipeline in 2019 as part of Norther Courier Pipeline’s $1-billion financing and sale of its remaining 85% of the pipeline to the Alberta Investment Management Corp.
Suncor and the Indigenous communities will form Astisiy LP, which will own 15% of the pipeline. Revenue will be generated by tolls from long-term transportation and terminal services agreements with companies using the pipeline. Gross revenues are expected to be $16 million annually for the partners. This will be a steady income stream for the local communities.
The Indigenous communities participation is funded by non-resource financing supported by a loan guarantee of up to $40 million from Alberta Indigenous Opportunities.
Suncor noted in a release that this partnership is unprecedented in the oil and gas industry, and it will stand as an example of economic reconciliation.
The Northern Courier Pipeline and associated storage facilities are located in the Wood Buffalo municipality, connecting the Fort Hills asset to the East Tank Farm, another Indigenous equity partnership. The asset consists of two 90-km pipelines that transport heated or diluted bitumen and condensate, diesel or crude from Fort Hills to the ETF. Tank terminals also support the operation of the asset, including two 300,000 bbl bitumen storage tanks, one 150,000 bbl diluent storage tank and one 50,000 bbl diesel tank at the north end of the asset.