TransCanada Corporation announced last week that the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project. As anticipated, the certificate was issued with a number of conditions resulting from the assessment by the EAO of environmental, social, economic, heritage and health components deemed pertinent to the project.
Russ Girling, president and chief executive officer of TransCanada, said:
"Achievement of an Environmental Assessment Certificate is a significant milestone for both Coastal GasLink and TransCanada. The scope of this application was substantial, involving thousands of hours of work to date for all involved. We appreciate the contributions and input from all those who participated in the environmental assessment process."
The proposed project involves the construction and operation of an approximately 670-kilometre (415-mile), 1,219-mm (48-inch) diameter natural gas pipeline from the Groundbirch area near Dawson Creek, B.C. to the proposed LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export facility near Kitimat, B.C. The initial build will include up to three meter stations and one compressor station. The initial capacity of the pipeline will allow the shipment of approximately 2-3 billion cubic feet/day (bcf/d) of natural gas, with an expansion capability to approximately 5 bcf/d through the addition of up to seven compressor stations.
A 7,200- page application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate was submitted by Coastal GasLink on January 29, 2014, and was accepted for review by the EAO on March 11, 2014. A public comment period ran from March 12 to May 5, 2014. The EAO prepared an Environmental Assessment Report based on its review of the application and inputs from other parties.
The Environmental Assessment Certificate for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project contains 32 conditions, the majority of which reflect current best practices for natural gas pipeline construction and operation.
TransCanada has also submitted applications to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission for the permits required under Section 25 of the Oil and Gas Activities Act to build and operate the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Regulatory review of those applications is progressing on schedule, with permit decisions anticipated in the first quarter of 2015.
Next steps for the proposed project include detailed engineering and construction planning, as well as ongoing consultation with Aboriginal groups and the public. Pending the receipt of all required regulatory approvals and a positive final investment decision from LNG Canada, the start of pipeline construction is anticipated in 2016, with an in-service date by the end of the decade.
The Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project is an important part of TransCanada's ambitious $38 billion capital growth plan, which includes more than $12 billion in proposed natural gas pipeline projects to support B.C.'s emerging liquefied natural gas export industry. TransCanada's LNG-related pipeline projects are underpinned by long-term contracts with established international energy companies.
For Coastal GasLink, these include the joint venture participants in the LNG Canada project: Shell Canada Energy and subsidiary corporations of PetroChina Company Limited, Korea Gas Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation.