Canadian Indigenous Group to Invest in Keystone XL Pipeline

(Reuters) - Pipeline operator TC Energy said on Tuesday Canadian indigenous group Natural Law Energy will invest up to C$1 billion ($763.77 million) in its long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline project.

Keystone XL, which would carry 830,000 barrels per day of crude from the Canadian province of Alberta to the U.S. Midwest, has been hindered for more than a decade due to opposition from landowners, U.S. environmental groups and tribes.

While indigenous groups have opposed pipeline projects in Canada and the United States and delayed some of them for years, other Canadian First Nations have invested significantly in the industry to share in its profits.

First Nations, also called bands, play a pivotal role in Canada's oil industry as governments and companies have a legal duty to consult and accommodate them before proceeding with resource projects affecting their territories.

The investment by Natural Law Energy, a coalition of Alberta and Saskatchewan indigenous groups, comes as construction in Canada on Keystone XL is already well underway.

Significant opposition, however, remains in the United States, where tribes, landowners and activists are fighting the project.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said he will scrap the permit for Keystone XL.

TC Energy said it would apply a similar ownership model to additional indigenous communities along the Keystone XL corridor, both in Canada and the United States.

The company said in October it expects Keystone XL to enter service in 2023.

The first phase of the transaction with Natural Law Energy is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, and is contingent on the group securing financing.

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