Calvin Helin is a name you will want to remember.
Helin is the son of a hereditary chief and the brother of the mayor of the Lax Kw’alaams Band in northern BC. A lawyer by profession, Helin also has over 750,000 followers on Twitter.
And at a time when the Trans Mountain Pipeline is being taken behind the proverbial woodshed, Helin is poised to introduce an even larger and more meaningful pipeline. It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Helin’s proposal would be a true nation builder.
You would be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of Calvin Helin, or his company, Eagle Spirit Energy. We read about the oil and gas market daily and Helin’s project only recently surfaced on our radar. And although news is just beginning to percolate, Helin has been quietly working behind the scenes for the past 6 years.
The majority of Helin’s work has focused on consultations with 35 First Nation Groups. Interestingly, it was the lack of consultations with indigenous communities that was a primary factor in the court of appeal denying permitting for Trans Mountain. With the Senate voting on Bill C-69 (the Impact Assessment Act) this fall, Eagle Spirit Energy has already embarked on rigorous consultations with Indigenous groups long before it surfaced as a pre-requisite for future pipeline projects. Furthermore, Helin has also worked tirelessly to source and hire experts from around the world to build a robust environmental model. The plan calls for shipping upgraded bitumen, which makes any accidents easier to clean up and avoids the need for tailing ponds. Helin suggests this will be the most environmentally friendly energy corridor on earth.
There are also huge economic benefits. Not only will upgraded crude be more efficient to ship, but it will also garner prices closer to Brent crude prices (as opposed to the Heavy Crude Differential that currently afflicts Western Canadian Select).
The route, as proposed, will be from Fort McMurray, straight west to the BC border then meandering down to a terminal near Prince Rupert. The project started out as a crude oil pipeline but ultimately evolved into a multi-corridor pipeline concept, with four 48″ pipelines projected to carry upgraded bitumen and LNG.
One big hurdle facing the project is the Federal governments proposal to ban tanker traffic in Northern BC. Bill C-48 (the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act), set to hit the Senate soon. Eagle Spirit and the Chief’s Council has launched a constitutional challenge of that Bill and has even been crowdfunding to continue the fight.
In the event the constitutional challenge is not successful, Eagle Spirit also has a counter-measure as they recently signed a memorandum of understanding with a landowner in Alaska. If Bill C-48 passes, Eagle Spirit will re-route the pipeline to ultimately ship off the Alaskan coast. Helin is leaving nothing to chance.
So let’s recap:
A First Nations led energy group is planning a pipeline which will ship 2 million barrels of oil per day from Fort McMurray to the west coast. The upgraded crude will be more efficient to ship, open Alberta’s oil to new markets, and sell at premium prices. It will be the greenest pipeline in the world and they’ve already consulted with, and have large support from Indigenous communities.
If this makes you as excited as it made us, you’ll understand why we reached out to Calvin Helin to discuss this in more detail. On top of recently conducting interviews with Danielle Smith and Roy Green (and undoubtedly having a very hectic schedule in general), Helin graciously agreed to speak to us. We chatted in depth about the project, Bills C-48 and C-69, but mostly we just wanted to compliment him for his work on Eagle Spirit Energy. This project has the capacity to dramatically improve our provincial economy, and by extension the commercial real estate market in Edmonton.
It’s people like Calvin Helin and projects like Eagle Spirit Energy that give us a lot of optimism for the future.
How can you help?
Lobby the Federal Government. Contact your Senator to tell them to defeat Bill C-48. https://sencanada.ca/en/senators/
Follow Calvin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CalvinHelin
First Nations Against Bill C-48 (almost 1/2 way towards their $100,000 goal): https://ca.gofundme.com/chiefs-council-against-bill-c48
Chad GriffithsPartner, SIOR, CCIM
Chad is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate and focuses on the Greater Edmonton area. Chad entered the industry in 2004 and has completed over 400 commercial transactions with clients ranging from small, local companies to large institutional owners. Chad has been a top 15 producer with NAI Canada-wide since 2013.
Ryan BrownPartner, BCom, SIOR
Ryan is a partner with NAI Commercial Real Estate in Edmonton and is currently ranked nationally as one of NAI's top advisors. Having executed in excess of $100 Million worth of sales transactions and over 2 Million square feet of lease transactions, Ryan has developed a firm understanding of asset evaluation and an aptitude for building design, functionality, and long-term practicality.
Darcie is a licensed Commercial Real Estate Agent in the Province of Alberta with a focus on the Edmonton market and its surrounding areas. Darcie accomplishes custom solutions for her clients through her personable nature and results driven attitude. Darcie can help if you are looking to invest in commercial real estate or are looking for representation for a sale or lease transactions.
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