OTTAWA, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The Canadian government is keen to support natural gas infrastructure but won't directly intervene in some projects, the country's prime minister said.
Project partners -- Imperial Oil Ltd., Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell -- in April said the low cost of natural gas meant the Mackenzie Valley natural gas pipeline was on hold.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a speech in Ottawa, said proponents of major oil and natural gas developments like Mackenzie should be making decisions rather than the government.
"(A) package of support is on the table but fundamentally the proponents themselves have to make a decision on whether these projects are commercially viable," he was quoted by The Toronto Star as saying.
He added that it was obvious that oil and natural gas prices were "having profound effects upon decisions that commercial producers may make."
The Mackenzie Valley pipeline was planned run 743 miles from the Beaufort Sea to northwestern Alberta. It's designed to carry more than 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The project's critics questioned the viability of the pipeline given the abundance of shale gas in the United States.
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