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Aspen oilsands project hearing cancelled after Fort McKay First Nation strikes deal with Imperial

Last Updated Oct 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm MDT

The Imperial Oil logo as seen at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Friday, April 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The Alberta Energy Regulator says it’s no longer considering holding a public hearing for a new oilsands project after an Indigenous community reached a deal with the proponent, Imperial Oil.

In a notice on its website, the AER says it doesn’t need to schedule a hearing on the 162,000-barrel-per-day Aspen project after the Fort McKay First Nation withdrew a request to participate.

The regulator says the First Nation has indicated it would address project concerns directly with Imperial.

AER says the panel for the Aspen project requested and received additional information from the company and decided there are no issues that need to be reviewed in a public proceeding without participants.

Imperial CEO Rich Kruger has complained about how long the regulatory process has taken since the company first applied for approval in 2013.

Aspen’s first phase would cost $2.4 billion and produce 75,000 barrels per day of bitumen from wells using steam and solvent technology. The company has not made a final investment decision to build it yet.