The British Columbia government will develop regulations prohibiting any pipelines associated with liquefied natural gas be converted to carry oil or bitumen at any time.
The announcement was made on Wednesday after a meeting between the province and First Nations, Chevron Canada, and Apache Canada – partners behind the proposed Pacific Trail pipeline (PTP).
The impetus behind the possible regulation was negotiated as a means of reassuring the Moricetown Indian Band chief and council, which is considering entering the First Nations Group Limited Partnership (FNLP), a consortium of 15 indigenous tribes involved in the natural gas pipeline.
The proposed 487-kilometre PTP will carry natural gas from Summit Lake, British Columbia, to the Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove on the province's northern coast.
The FNLP is working with Chevron and Apache to ensure First Nations receive benefits and economic opportunities associated with the pipeline and LNG project.
There has been significant opposition to oil pipelines in British Columbia for several years, primarily centred on Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline. That pipeline would carry crude from Alberta to marine terminals on the province's coast to be shipped via tanker to Asia.
First Nations, social activists and communities along the pipeline's proposed route are concerned about the potential affects of a on the province's pristine environment, as well as wildlife and marine life.
Members of the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs were invited to observe the ongoing discussions between the Moricetown band and the PTP joint venture.
Hereditary chief Hagwilnegh Ron Mitchell said his people want to "make sure the land and water is protected, our people's voices are heard, and that no oil pipeline will come through Wet'suwet'en territory".
BC Minister of Natural Resources, Rich Coleman, said the province provided a written assurance of its "no oil" commitment, a regulation prohibiting oil from being transported on a natural gas pipeline for LNG projects.
The regulation will be developed in the fall and will include consultation with the Moricetown band and the Wet'suwet'en chiefs.
Furthermore, Chevron and Apache – the proponents behind Kitimat LNG, for which PTP will service – agreed the system is strictly for natural gas use.
This announcement comes a week after Apache announced it would sell its interest in the Kitimat project in order to focus on other assets in its portfolio.