* Release of conditions does not signal approval of project
* Conditions include C$950 mln to pay for spills
* Conditions on environment, construction, aboriginals
* Enbridge declines comment on whether conditions onerous
* Enbridge shares fall 0.5 pct
CALGARY, Alberta, April 12 Enbridge Inc
must provide at least C$950 million ($937 million) in
guarantees, including C$100 million in ready cash, to cover the
cost of oil spills and accidents from its proposed Northern
Gateway pipeline, according to draft conditions released on
Friday by the panel assessing the project.
Canada's Joint Review Panel issued its draft list of
conditions Enbridge must meet before it approves construction of
the controversial C$6 billion pipeline, a decision that must
come by year end.
The list of 199 potential conditions cover how construction
would proceed, environmental protection and aboriginal
participation in the line, as well as how the company would pay
for the clean-up of spills and other environmental damage.
The federal government and oil companies seeking an
alternative to their reliance on the U.S. Midwest refining
market and higher prices for Canadian crude have championed the
However Northern Gateway, which would carry 525,000 barrels
per day of oil sands crude from near Edmonton, Alberta, to the
deepwater port of Kitimat on British Columbia's northern Pacific
coast, is bitterly opposed by environmental groups and
aboriginal communities along the line's route who are concerned
about the risk of oil spills.
The preliminary conditions include a number of steps
Enbridge must meet prior to and during construction in order to
prevent and mitigate potential environmental damage, offer
benefits to aboriginal communities and lessen the risk of
However, should a spill occur, the company must ensure it
has set aside enough funds to pay for a clean up. That includes
C$600 million in third-party insurance, C$100 million in ready
cash and C$250 million in other guarantees and insurance.
The panel said in a release the conditions are a necessary
preliminary step so that interested parties can comment or
suggest additional conditions.
Enbridge spokesman Todd Nogier declined to comment on
whether any of the conditions might be onerous.
The preliminary conditions will be part of the proceedings
during final hearings on Northern Gateway, which are scheduled
to start in June.
Enbridge will give its reaction first to the regulatory
panel, Nogier said.
"Our team is taking a look at them, and really, out of
respect to the process, characterizing any of the potential
conditions in any way outside of the process would be
inappropriate," he said.
Enbridge shares were down 21 Canadian cents at C$46.08 by
midafternoon on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange