Old fur-trade route could provide relief from Alta.'s troubled pipeline dreams
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/trade+route+could+provide+relief+from+Alta+troubled+pipeline+dreams/6033189/story.html#ixzz1kAHmnAps
Long forgotten in the far northeastern corner, Fort Fitzgerald, population eight according to the 2010 census, was once bustling with boats and barges ferrying cargo up the mighty Slave River.
It may boom again, and soon.
A proven northern route that can expedite shipments from Fort McMurray to oil-hungry customers in China and India may just be the answer.
"We need to look at as many options as possible," says Travis Davies of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, "mostly in terms of moving equipment and components."
As the producers of oil from the bituminous sands continue to expand their operations, Davies notes, "We've got an amazing resource here and we need to continue to explore all kinds of ways to get it to market."
Imperial Oil may also need to consider using water routes up the Mackenzie, Slave and Athabasca rivers to bring heavy machinery to existing operations in Fort McMurray and especially for its Kearl oilsands project currently under construction.
It would be a hard slog to get any northern oil route approved, as seen by the 30-year-old (and still waiting) Mackenzie Valley pipeline proposal.
If a way were to be found, oil would be the latest in a long list of products transported on the Slave River.
Formed where the Athabasca and Peace Rivers come together, the Slave River was a lifeline for explorers, fur traders and early oilmen.
Our present-day society is built around the road. But 200 years ago the rivers were the superhighways of Canada.