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TransCanada looks to start North Montney Mainline construction

The North Montney Mainline is ready to build, with or without liquefied natural gas, TransCanada signalled to the National Energy Board this week.
Workers lay down pipe on a TransCanada project in Oregon.

The North Montney Mainline is ready to build, with or without liquefied natural gas, TransCanada signalled to the National Energy Board this week.

The company has filed for a variance with the NEB on the project, which would add new pipeline links to bring new gas supplies into TransCanada’s existing NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) mainline.

TransCanada had already received NEB approval to build the North Montney Mainline, at a cost of $1.7 billion, but that approval was contingent on the Petronas Pacific NorthWest LNG project getting a final investment decision, not expected until later this year.

But TransCanada now wants to proceed with building out a slightly scaled back system, at a cost of $1.4 billion, regardless of whether the Pacific NorthWest gets the go ahead. It does not include the roughly 100 kilometres of pipeline that would be required, if the LNG project goes ahead.

Eleven gas producers have signed 20-year commitments to ship up to 1.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day on the Nova Gas pipeline system, which gives those producers a variety of options for delivering gas throughout Canada and the U.S.

“The new commercial arrangements demonstrate a current and long-term market demand for North Montney gas supply in advance of, and independent of, the PNW LNG final investment decision,” said TransCanada communications manager Shawn Howard.

Black Swan Energy has confirmed it will be one of the shippers on the new pipeline.

TransCanada plans to start construction in 2018, subject to regulatory approvals. It will feed into the NGTL system, which will provide producers various options including deliveries to the oilsands, local distributors, Eastern Canada, the U.S. Midwest or to California/Pacific Northwest.

“This project adds significant pipeline capacity that connects new gas supplies from the prolific Montney basin to the NGTL System and will provide access to markets across North America,” said Karl Johannson, TransCanada’s executive vice president and president, natural gas pipelines.

The NEB approved the pipeline in April 2015, attaching 45 conditions to the project. B.C.’s approval added another 21 conditions. The province granted the project an environmental certificate in January, adding another 21 conditions. 

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman said in their decision the pipeline would pump more than $800 million into the provincial economy, including $8 million in property taxes to the Peace River Regional District.

—Staff, with files from JWN Energy and Business in Vancouver

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