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Northern B.C. hopes that there is work in the pipeline

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A natural gas pipeline in the Peace River Regional District that's being proposed by Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) could be good news for the northern B.C. construction industry.

A natural gas pipeline in the Peace River Regional District that's being proposed by Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) could be good news for the northern B.C. construction industry.

The proposed North Montney Mainline would deliver gas from the company’s Groundbirch Mainline to the NGTL system 190 km north of Fort St. John.

The 305-km pipeline would contain metering facilities, valve sites and, possibly, compression facilities.

“If the project goes ahead, there definitely will be participation in it by our members,” said Rosalind Thorn, president of the B.C. Construction Association North.

“In the beginning, there would be lots of ‘dirt work’ – clearing rights of way. Once the project gets underway, we expect there would be other opportunities, too, such as welding and crane services.”

In addition, said Thorn, pumping stations will need to be built, which will require the services of concrete, mechanical and electrical contractors in the region.

If it is built, North Montney will consist of two sections: Aitken Creek (about 180 kms) and Kahta (about 125 kms).

The project will also include an interconnection with TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project to provide natural gas to a proposed export facility near Prince Rupert.

NGTL, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of energy producer TransCanada Corporation, said the North Montney Mainline project will provide substantial new capacity to its network of pipelines.

NGTL spokesman Davis Sheremata said the company has been carrying out field studies and preliminary engineering work.

“Most of the field work – geotechnical studies, field surveys and field environmental studies – has taken place,” said Sheremata.

“The results will be taken into account when filing the Section 52 application to the National Energy Board in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

Additional field studies and engineering activities, if required, will take place in the winter of 2013-14 and the spring of 2014.

Sheremata said NGTL has also been taking part in public consultations with First Nations and regional municipalities.

If the company receives the necessary approvals, construction of the pipeline is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015.

NGTL expects the Aitken Creek section to be operating by the second quarter of 2016, the Kahta section in the second quarter of 2017 and the export delivery facilities in 2019.

The total cost of the North Montney Mainline project is estimated to be about $1.5 billion.

Although the extension is still only in the proposal stage, NGTL recently signed an agreement with Progress Energy Canada Ltd., a natural gas explorer and producer, to transport about two billion cubic feet of gas per day.

The company is also talking to other producers about using the North Montney Mainline facilities.

If it is built, the North Montney pipeline will complement the provincial government’s Liquefied Natural Gas Strategy.

Premier Christy Clark has said that growth in the LNG industry could add as much as $1 trillion in cumulative gross domestic product over the next 30 years.

The pipeline could also facilitate the transportation of BC.’s natural gas to new markets in Asia.

As proposed, the pipeline will interconnect with TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project, which will provide natural gas to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility near Prince Rupert.

Petronas, a Malaysian oil and gas company, recently committed to investing $36 billion in the facility. If the project goes ahead, it could create up to 3,500 construction jobs and 200-300 operating positions.

There are more than 30,000 kilometres of pipelines carrying natural gas in B.C.

The pipelines gather, process, transmit and store natural gas, and distribute it to consumers.

Spectra Energy and TransCanada Corp own and operate pipelines that gather and process natural gas.

They are also involved in transmission and storage of unprocessed product.

Fortis BC and Pacific Northern Gas are involved in distributing processed natural gas to consumers.

by Peter Caulfield

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