The $16.2-billion Mackenzie Gas Project may finally go forward.

The project includes construction of a natural-gas pipeline from the Mackenzie River Delta, north of the Arctic Circle, to Alberta. It has been subject to years of delays but Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced Monday in Calgary that the federal government has made a financial offer to the backers of the project.

“This is an important project to our country in terms of the northern gas base,” Prentice said. “The offer includes a contribution to infrastructure and pre-construction costs and a sharing of risks and returns.”

Prentice wouldn’t say how much money has been offered since negotiations are still taking place. He hopes that the project goes forward by December of this year, and said that it would likely be seven to eight years before the delivery of natural gas.

The backers of the project include Imperial Oil, Shell Canada, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.

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