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Suncor partners with indigenous communities to buy stake in Northern Courier Pipeline

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FILE PHOTO: Suncor Energy facility is seen in Sherwood Park, Alberta
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(Reuters) - Canada's Suncor Energy said on Thursday it had partnered with eight indigenous communities to buy all of TC Energy Corp's 15% stake in the Northern Courier Pipeline Limited Partnership.

Suncor, three First Nations and five Métis communities will own a 15% stake in this pipeline asset with a value of about C$1.3 billion. ($1.03 billion).

Oil and gas companies have been increasingly partnering with Canada's First Nations on projects as they play a pivotal role in Canada's oil industry. Governments and companies have a legal duty to consult and accommodate First Nations before proceeding with resource projects affecting their territories.

However, some indigenous groups oppose such partnerships and deals.

The partnership is expected to generate gross revenues of about C$16 million annually for its partners and provide reliable income, Suncor said in a statement.

The indigenous communities' participation in the deal is funded through a non-recourse financing that is supported by a loan guarantee of up to C$40 million from the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corp.

The Northern Courier Pipeline asset consists of two 90-kilometre pipelines that transport bitumen and diesel or crude from Fort Hills in Alberta's Athabasca region to a storage, blending and cooling facility located about 30 kilometers north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

($1 = 1.2635 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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