Calgary – Canadian Prosperity Pipelines Corporation, which recently announced its plans for a new transcontinental oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alta. to Saint John, N.B., suffered a major setback with the death of its founder, president and CEO Duane Lauritsen on Nov. 5.
The company released a statement on its website, noting, “It is with great sorrow that we inform you all of the untimely passing of our president and CEO Duane Robert Lauritsen. Duane’s vision and passion will be remembered by all who knew him. This unexpected tragedy has deeply affected our team and our families, and we have no words to express our profound sympathies for Duane’s family, friends, and colleagues. Duane was in Calgary, doing what he loved: sharing his dream of empowerment and prosperity for Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada. We know that he was truly honoured to have been invited to Treaty 7 Territory to share with the National Coalition of Chiefs.”
“In his pursuit for a truly united and prosperous Canada, he created a legacy. We believe that his legacy will be realized, not only by CP3, but through all those he encountered who share his vision and his passion for this country.”
Lauritsen is believed to have suffered a heart attack in his hotel while on business for the project in Calgary. He had given the final presentation of the day at the National Coalition of Chiefs convention on Nov. 4.
Doug MacLellan has taken over as interim president and CEO.
Pipeline News spoke to MacLellan on Nov. 12. Asked what this means for the project, he said, “We are going to continue with the vision. We are fully committed to it.”
They are continuing efforts to reach out and build support for the project.
Eugene van den Berg, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said on Nov. 12, “It was quite a blow.”
He noted they are going to keep working to establish their own identity. While their project is very similar to TC Energy (formerly TransCanada)’s defunct Energy East project, van den Berg said, “Energy East is dead. We’re the new Energy East. We need to get out from underneath Energy East’s shadow.”
A big portion of that is a different model of engaging with the Indigenous community, and it was to that end that Lauritsen had been invited to speak at the National Coalition of Chiefs.
Van den Berg said they were going to take time to regroup. “We came to the conclusion we’re not going to stop this project because one person passed on.”
He noted they have received “support from the entire industry.”
Lauritsen was 54 years old. He leaves two grown children and a fiancé.