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Mackenzie pipeline ok'd, now what?

Alaska Beat

Last week, Canada's National Energy Board issued its approval of the estimated $16.2 billion Arctic pipeline project to bring natural gas from the Mackenzie Delta to market in Alberta (find .pdf copies of the decision materials, here, via the NEB). The federal approval is a step forward for the effort, indeed, but lagging natural gas prices and still-bloated North American market still pose obstacles, the Calgary Herald reports. What's more, the Herald's energy columnist, Deborah Yedlin, doesn't tiptoe around while registering her assessment. She believes the door has closed for good on the Mackenzie project, that the project's failure is destined without an increase in market demand, and that the project's eventual failure should be considered an example of how big projects can die while the world changes under slow-moving, institutional feet. Read her take on the project, here.

[Update, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.] For a good round-up of stories on the predicament facing Arctic oil and gas projects as climate change makes deposits more accessible as market conditions continue to pose problems, check out today's linky brief from Foreign Policy magazine, here.