05/06/2016 08:07 EDT | Updated 05/07/2017 01:12 EDT

NewsAlert:Proponents behind Northern Gateway ask for three-year extension

CALGARY — The proponents behind the Northern Gateway pipeline are asking the National Energy Board for three more years to start building the controversial project.

Northern Gateway and 31 aboriginal equity partners say they need the time to secure legal and regulatory certainty and continue consultations with First Nations and Metis communities.

Currently, Enbridge (TSX:ENB) is required to start construction by the end of this year as one of the 209 conditions attached to the 2014 federal approval of the project.

The $6.5 billion pipeline would carry an average of 525,000 barrels of oil from near Edmonton to the deepwater port of Kitimat, B.C., and help open up Alberta oilsands crude to international markets.

The pipeline has faced stiff opposition from some First Nations groups and others who have voice environmental concerns about the project.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to formalizing a ban on tanker traffic on B.C.'s north coast that some say could derail the project.

More Coming.