How do you persuade angered first nations to open their backyards to an oil pipeline they don't want, which is carrying crude they won't likely use?
That, at least, has been the tack taken by Enbridge Inc., which has in recent months spoken of the energy needs in Asia, and the good that can come from delivering energy there. The arguments have risen around the company's Northern Gateway pipeline, a $5.5-billion project it wants to build across northern British Columbia to export oil sands crude to China and other destinations.
First nations have said that it endangers their land, and they don't want it.
Now Enbridge is unveiling a new set of arguments that tie energy to living conditions, in a bid to convince others that they can do good for the world by supporting pipelines.
"Thirty-seven per cent of the world's population relies on wood, charcoal and animal dung for their heating," Steve Wuori, Enbridge's executive vice-president of liquids pipeline said Thursday at the TD Newcrest Unconventional Oil & Gas Forum in Calgary.
He acknowledged that discussing animal dung is unusual practice at an energy investment conference. But, he explained, "that's why our view will continue to be whether it's in connection with the Northern Gateway debate or any other, that we really do have a responsibility to do what we can to produce, to deliver the energy that's needed for the benefit of people's lives."