Northwestern B.C. LNG pipeline, plant projects approved by province

Construction hinges on final investment decisions worth billions of dollars

TWO natural gas pipeline projects that would cross through northern B.C. and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant that would use the gas from one of them have received provincial environmental approval.

The two pipeline projects are the 48-inch Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line and the Westcoast Connector, a corridor that could contain two 48-inch pipelines, and both would go through the Nass Valley before entering the ocean and continuing south to Prince Rupert.

The LNG plant to receive provincial approval is Pacific NorthWest LNG to be located on Lelu Isalnd and would be fed by the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line.

Each of the projects still requires federal environmental approval and all three would require an array of provincial and other permits.

Taken together, the three projects involve expenditures of billions of dollars.

The Westcoast Connector is meant for a second LNG plant to be placed on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert and called Prince Rupert LNG but its developer, BG Canada, has placed the project on hold for awhile.

PacificNorthwest LNG developer Petronas, owned by the Malaysian government, has yet to make a final investment decision but that could come within months.

The Westcoast Connector is a project of an energy company called Spectra while TransCanada Pipelines owns the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project.

“We are very pleased that the Environmental Assessment Certificate granted today for our Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project brings us closer to achieving our vision of serving multiple LNG projects in the Prince Rupert area,” said Greg Ebel, president and chief executive officer of Spectra Energy in a Nov. 25 release.

“We believe providing for multiple pipelines in a single corridor is a smart, thoughtful way to plan for the sustainable growth of a new LNG industry in British Columbia.”

Both pipeline projects would start in northeastern B.C. and both be approximately 900 kilometres long.

All three projects come with environmental protection and other conditions which must be followed.

One project, the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line, has already received the approval of the Nisga’a Nation which is to receive financial and other benefits both from the developer and the provincial government through its construction period and subsequent operation.