Minister in U.s. to discuss
The Northwest Territories’ industry minister is in Washington this week to find out how U.S. support for a gigantic natural gas pipeline in Alaska measures up to Ottawa’s efforts to move the smaller Mackenzie Gas Project forward. Bob McLeod said he worries a bump in U.S. federal loan guarantees from US$18 billion to at least US$30 billion for the Alaska project could mean more delays for the beleaguered Mackenzie pipeline, which he said will bring a much-needed economic boost for communities in the region. “We want to ensure there’s a level playing field,” McLeod said in an interview from Washington on Sunday. Calgary-based pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) and U.S. energy heavyweight ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) said earlier this month they would work together on the 2,760-kilometre Alaska pipeline, pegging the pricetag at around US$26-billion.
“If the United States government is prepared to provide loan guarantees that exceed — from all appearances — the cost of the construction of the pipeline, we think that our government should be looking at something like that,” McLeod said. McLeod has meetings scheduled this week with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, as well as members of House committees on natural resources, energy and infrastructure. The Northwest Territories minister also plans to speak with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s representative in Washington and U.S. energy industry officials.
One month after announcing it was laying off 700 employees because of plummeting civil flight simulator orders, Montreal-based CAE Inc. said Sunday it will spend $274 million over seven years to diversify its business outside the aerospace industry. With the help of a $100-million Quebec government loan, the company plans to develop modelling and simulation technology for the health-care, heavy equipment, mining and energy sectors. The investment could create 2,500 jobs locally in the next 10 to 15 years, Robert Brown, CAE’s chief executive officer, said at a press conference at the Montreal Science Centre in Old Montreal. The company, a world leader in the building of civil and military flight simulators and training centres, is continuing to diversify its business to maintain revenue because of the cyclical nature of its core flight simulator business.
About four years ago, CAE’s engineers began working on a plan to diversify the company using existing technology that could be transferred to other industries.