Suncor Energy forms partnership with eight Indigenous communities to acquire an equity interest in the Northern Courier Pipeline

Trans-Canada Pipelines has been shipping petroleum through Northwestern Ontario since the late 1950s.
Trans-Canada Pipelines has been shipping petroleum through Northwestern Ontario since the late 1950s.

Calgary – INDIGENOUS Business – Suncor has announced the signing of agreements with eight Indigenous communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) to acquire all of TC Energy’s 15 per cent equity interest in the Northern Courier Pipeline Limited Partnership. This historic partnership includes Suncor, three First Nations and five Métis communities who will own a 15 per cent stake in this pipeline asset with a value of approximately $1.3 billion, which will provide long-term, stable revenues that will benefit the communities for decades to come.

The purchase of Northern Courier Pipeline will be completed by Astisiy Limited Partnership (Astisiy), which is comprised of Suncor and a partnership of the following communities:

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chipewyan Prairie First Nation
Conklin Métis Local 193 Fort Chipewyan Métis Local #125
Fort McKay Métis Nation McMurray Métis
Fort McMurray #468 First Nation Willow Lake Métis Nation

With this collaboration in mind, Suncor obtained the rights to purchase all of TC Energy’s 15 per cent equity interest in 2019, as part of Northern Courier Pipeline’s execution of long-term, non-recourse financing of $1 billion and TC Energy’s sale of its remaining 85 per cent interest to the Alberta Investment Management Corporation. The pipeline, which connects the Fort Hills asset to Suncor’s East Tank Farm asset, will be operated by Suncor upon completion of the purchase by Astisiy. The transaction is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and the required regulatory approvals.

The Astisiy partners will benefit from revenues generated through competitive tolls from long-term transportation and terminalling services agreements supporting the pipeline, regardless of the price of crude. The partnership is expected to generate gross revenues of approximately $16 million annually for its partners and provide reliable income that the Indigenous communities can use at their discretion for decades to come.

The Indigenous communities’ participation in this transaction is funded by non-recourse financing that is supported by a loan guarantee of up to $40 million from the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. TD Securities Inc. acted as Financial Advisor and Debt Arranger for the Indigenous communities in this transaction.

This investment and partnership are a result of years of collaboration and negotiations among all partners. An example of economic reconciliation, this partnership is unprecedented in this industry, given the number of Indigenous communities involved in this type of project.

“We’re excited to have eight new business partners in the RMWB and continue on our Journey of Reconciliation with yet another opportunity for increased participation by Indigenous communities in our business. Suncor’s Journey includes our commitment to learn about Indigenous culture and history with open hearts and minds, to stretch our perspectives, and build genuine relationships with Indigenous Peoples based on mutual trust and respect. We’ve heard from communities that opportunities like this are key to helping their communities thrive and we are proud to play a part in supporting their members.”
Mark Little, President and Chief Executive Officer, Suncor Energy

“The Northern Courier Pipeline opportunity demonstrates progressive relationship building and economic reconciliation between industry and Indigenous Communities. ACFN is committed to delivering long-term value to membership and this is yet another example of this framework. The pipeline itself is firmly situated in ACFN traditional territory so it is fitting that ACFN, along with seven other Indigenous owners, share in the community benefits made possible through this partnership with Suncor.”
Allan Adam, Chief, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

“This investment in the Northern Courier Pipeline with the other Indigenous communities in the region will sustain our people’s future for years to come.”
Shaun Janvier, Director, Chipewyan Prairie Industry Relations LP

“Joint ventures and partnerships should benefit all parties. But in this case, we have a deal that benefits the parties, the community and Canada.”
Valerie Quintal, Membership Director, Conklin Métis Local 193

“Fort Chip Métis is proud with the way all parties worked together to develop this game-changing partnership, which goes a long way to ensuring a vibrant future for the people of our community.”
Kendrick Cardinal, President, Fort Chipewyan Métis Local #125

“There has been a lot of talk about reconciliation. But Suncor is walking the talk. This is an investment in a better Canada. And the benefits of this partnership model are sustainable long-term revenue for our community’s housing, social services and education. This is further recognition of the Fort McKay Métis Nation’s s.35 rights within our traditional territory.”
Ron Quintal, President, Fort McKay Métis Nation

“This partnership is historic as it includes Métis communities – nothing like this has been done before. Astisiy will provide our community with stable revenue over many years to come and will allow us to continue with cultural programming and other community initiatives that otherwise may not have been able to proceed.”
Peter Hansen, President, Fort McMurray Métis

“This partnership demonstrates our ability to be a strong player at the table and will allow us to fund programs that otherwise wouldn’t be able to happen. It’s our hope that industry will follow suit and allow further opportunities for Aboriginal communities in the North to participate in ventures such as this.”
Samantha Whalen, Councillor, Fort McMurray 468 First Nation

“We are thrilled to partner with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in the Wood Buffalo Region to build long-term prosperity for our community and future generations. WLMG is committed to making bold decisions and to doing things differently, ensuring the best future possible for our community and our families.”
Justin Bourque, CEO, Willow Lake Métis Group

“Today is a momentous and historic day that the Government of Alberta is proud to participate in. It is gratifying to see several Indigenous communities secure for themselves investment in natural resource projects and bolster economic prosperity in their communities.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations, Government of Alberta

“AIOC is extremely proud of the support we are able to offer our Indigenous community partners in this deal. The eight Indigenous communities involved, including both First Nations and Métis communities, are inspirational for the partnership they developed with one another and also with Suncor. This project encapsulates our mission at AIOC very well – we are keenly focused on elevating Indigenous communities by supporting their investment in projects like this. AIOC is honoured to enhance the long-term, stable revenues that will be generated by the Indigenous communities from this investment, and the promise that offers both current and future generations. We also respectfully acknowledge and commend Suncor’s firm and ongoing commitment and dedication to building meaningful, enduring relationships with its Indigenous partners.  All to say, this is a very exciting moment and we offer heartfelt congratulations to all involved.”
Alicia Dubois, CEO, Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation

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