Federal Funding to assist in purchase of rig for ECAT 6 project

Sep 20, 2001 02:00 AM

The Honourable Robert Nault, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, announced $ 1.1 mm in federal funding to assist four northeast Alberta First Nations take a historic first step into the oil and gas drilling business through the purchase of an oil and gas drilling rig.
Kehewin, Frog Lake, Cold Lake and Heart Lake First Nations, Alberta Energy Company (AEC) and Precision Drilling are launching a historic joint venture that will bring jobs, training and expanded business expertise to the four First Nation communities. The project is known as the East Central Alberta Treaty 6 or ECAT 6 project.

Chiefs of the Kehewin, Frog Lake, Cold Lake and Heart Lake First Nations signed and announced a Memorandum of Intent with AEC and Precision on April 18, 2001, at an AEC-hosted dinner in Calgary, to own and operate a drilling rig in time for the 2001-2002 winter drilling season. The joint venture will lay the groundwork for oilfield training and the establishment of new drilling jobs. It also guarantees a minimum of 1,000 days of drilling for the First Nation-owned rig.
"There is strong public support for government investment to help First Nations become self-sufficient," said Minister Nault. "Canadians want to see improvements in the lives of First Nations' people and believe increased and sustained economic development is key to leading to greater First Nations' autonomy. It is also gratifying to see the provincial government support and private industry like Alberta Energy Company and Precision Drilling Corporation willing to partner in economic development projects with First Nations. This is truly a win-win scenario not only for the parties involved, but for all Canadians."

The four participating First Nation communities will collectively invest a total of $ 1.1 mm toward the project's estimated overall cost of $ 5 mm. Kehewin First Nation Chief Eric Gadwa, also Grand Chief of Treaty 6, was joined in signing the Memorandum by Cold Lake First Nation Chief Joyce Metchewais, Chief MorrisMonias of Heart Lake, and Chief Thomas Abraham of Frog Lake.
"This initiative is an example of the recently adopted economic strategy for Treaty 6," said Chief Gadwa. "We are determined to work with industry and government to maximize economic benefits from resource development, while ensuring the protection of our Treaty rights and the enhancement of our traditional ways."
Thirty new jobs will be created by this project as well as an additional 75 indirect jobs. Of the 30 jobs created, 18 are earmarked for First Nations members currently on social assistance.

Source: BusinessCanada NewsWire
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