Enbridge Inc. has signed a deal to sell a minority stake in seven pipelines in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta to a group of 23 First Nation and Métis communities for $1.12 billion.
The deal is the largest energy-related Indigenous economic partnership transaction in North America to date, according to Enbridge.
Athabasca Indigenous Investments (Aii), a limited partnership of 23 Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 First Nations and Métis communities, will manage the investment which includes an 11.57 per cent non-operating interest in the pipelines.
Aii said the deal is expected to bring in more than $10 million annually to the communities represented in the partnership.
The Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp., a provincial Crown corporation, said it provided a loan guarantee that enabled the communities to borrow the $250 million for their equity stake in the assets instead of contributing their own capital.
Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco said the partnership exemplifies how Enbridge and Indigenous communities can work together.
The pipelines included in the agreement are the Athabasca, Wood Buffalo/Athabasca Twin and associated tanks, Norlite Diluent, Waupisoo, Wood Buffalo, Woodland and the Woodland extension.
Aii president Justin Bourque said in the release Wednesday that the assets will “help enhance quality of life in our communities for many years to come.”
Chief Greg Desjarlais of Frog Lake First Nation said in the statement that the investment supports economic sovereignty for the Athabasca region communities.
Enbridge said the assets are underpinned by long-life resources and long-term contracts, which provide highly predictable cash flows.
The deal is expected to close within the next month.
In March 2022, 16 Indigenous communities along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route signed option agreements for an equity stake in the project.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2022.