Alaskan Gas Producers Pipeline Team-Marine Environmental Studies for the Portion of the Proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Route Within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
Principal Investigator: Shopik, Tim (2)
Licence Number: 13226
Organization: ExxonMobil Resources Ltd.
Licensed Year(s): 2001
Issued: Jul 16, 2001
Project Team: William Cross, Davis Fissel, Al Taylor, John Harper, Stephen Johnson, Ron Harris, Rolph Davis, Gary Miller

Objective(s): The proponent is proposing to conduct a series of environmental studies in connection with a Mackenzie Valley pipeline route, which is part of an alignment being considered from Prudhoe Bay on the Alaskan Coast to Chicago, Illinois. A portion of the proposed route lies within the Inuvialuit Settlement Region. The 2001 study program has the following objectives for the on-land study area of the NWT: (1) to start to develop a contemporary baseline data inventory of resources that could potentially be affected by the construction of an offshore pipeline within the Beaufort Sea and a terrestrial pipeline along the Yukon Coast to the Mackenzie Delta and then up the Mackenzie Valley; (2) to evaluate the environmental constraints determining the location of the pipeline landfall and the location of construction sites, equipment staging sites and compressor station locations; and (3) to start to use field results to assist in the development of mitigative strategies. The data are being collected to allow determination of the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of the Marine Pipeline option and to meet filing guidelines of the National Energy Board (NEB).

Project Description: The proposed field research programs will allow the proponent to determine the technical and environmental feasibility and economic viability of a subsea natural gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the Mackenzie Delta area of Canada. Five field research projects are proposed to provide information needed to make the necessary evaluations. The research is designed to: (1) Assess the feasibility and design of the pipeline at various possible pipeline landfalls along the Yukon coast, by conducting a survey of the proposed offshore pipeline route from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to the Yukon coast/Mackenzie Delta, using depth-sounding and side-scan sonars to measure water depth and determine the characteristics of the bottom surface; (2) Assess the potential effects of the pipeline on coastal erosion at the possible pipeline landfall locations; (3) Assess the effects of climate change on coastal processes along this part of the Beaufort Sea coast, focusing on permafrost (distribution, and thermal interactions with the pipeline), oceanographic processes in shallow nearshore areas (currents, water temperature,waves, shoreline stability and backshore geological features), shoreline features and coastal geomorphology; (4) Document the distribution of moulting waterfowl, as necessary input to the selection of the most appropriate pipeline landfall, through a series of aerial surveys flown parallel to the coast; and (5) Document the timing and extent of use of the nearshore waters along the Yukon coast by concentrations of bowhead and beluga whales, to aid in selection of the most appropriate pipeline landfall and the timing of construction activities in the area. Camp locations, traditional land-use patterns, and resource use in the Shallow Bay/Shingle Point area and the adjacent north Yukon coast will be mapped, to allow the project to avoid interference with the residents of the area.