Baird gets Canada Arctic gas responsibility-report

* Baird to oversee Mackenzie temporarily, CBC says

* Prentice had file since 2006

* Awaiting National Energy Board ruling

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 5 (BestGrowthStock) – Interim Canadian
Environment Minister John Baird will assume responsibility for
the stalled C$16.2 billion ($16.2 billion) Mackenzie Arctic gas
pipeline following the resignation of predecessor Jim Prentice,
CBC News reported on Friday.

Prentice, who announced on Thursday he was leaving the
government, had been Ottawa’s man on the project since 2006,
carrying the file through stints as minister of Indian and
Northern Affairs, Industry as well as Environment.

Baird will take over responsibility for the project
temporarily, CBC said.

Mackenzie, led by Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO: ), is awaiting a
final ruling from the National Energy Board in the latest in a
long string of regulatory delays since 2004.

In early 2009, Prentice offered Imperial and its partners a
package of financial support measures aimed at helping to make
the 1,220 km (760 mile) pipeline through the Northwest
Territories viable.

The package included an offer to provide infrastructure
such as roads and airstrips as well as financial risk-sharing.

However, the two sides could not agree on the package after
months of talks, and earlier this year put discussions on hold
until after the NEB makes its decision.

Imperial has said it likely will not make a decision to go
ahead with the project until 2013.

The line would move 1.2 billion cubic feet of gas a day
along the Mackenzie River Valley to Alberta from the Beaufort
Sea Coast in Canada’s Arctic.

Besides regulatory delays, the proposal has been hampered
by rising costs, falling natural gas prices and the prospect of
competition from a much larger Alaska gas pipeline.

Imperial’s partners in the proposal are Royal Dutch Shell
Plc (RDSa.L: ), ConocoPhillips (COP.N: ), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: )
and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)
(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Peter Galloway)

Baird gets Canada Arctic gas responsibility-report