Nearly 70 per cent of the route of the western-most section of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline has been cleared and pipe sections that are to be buried in the ground are arriving steadily to a storage yard off of Hwy 37 north of Kitimat.
This section, called Section 8, is 84 kilometres in all and is the last of eight sections of the 670 kilometre-long pipeline route. The pipeline starts in northeastern B.C. with Section 8 running from north of Morice Lake near Houston to end at the LNG Canada natural gas liquefaction plant now under construction at Kitimat.
Pipe began to arrive at the storage yard from overseas via truck after being unloaded at the Port of Stewart late last year.
“Approximately 50 kilometres has been delivered already between December 2019 and now,” says Coastal GasLink official Suzanne Wilton of activity.
Pipe is now also arriving from a facility in Camrose, Alberta via rail to a storage site owned by the Kitsumkalum First Nation just east of Kitsumkalum itself for subsequent transport by truck to the site north of Kitimat.
“The remaining 5 kilometres will be delivered approximately the fourth quarter of this year,” Wilton said of more shipments coming from overseas.
The storage yard north of Kitimat is one of two main laydown locations in this region — the other is at Houston and Chetwynd in the northeast is also a key location for stockpiling pipe sections.
As of last week, 62 per cent of the entire route has been cleared in preparation for trenching to begin followed placing and then burying the 48-inch diameter pipe.
Work is also proceeding on work camps along the section ending at Kitimat.
Most of the workers for this section are now at the Sitka Lodge located in Kitimat with three other locations called P4 Lodge, Hunter Creek Lodge and P2 Lodge scheduled for openings this year. Two smaller locations called Icy 1 and Icy 2, each with approximately 35 workers, are also to open.
And 9A Lodge, the worker facility at the eastern end of this last section, is to be ready for occupancy this year.
Work on that lodge and occupancy was stalled because of the protest and blockade by some Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs of the section south of Houston called Section 7. That ended in early February when a B.C. Supreme Court enforcement order resulted in the RCMP clearing the way for work to resume.
At seven work camps, Section 8 has the highest number of the eight sections of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
To date none of Section 7 has been cleared but grading and site preparation is underway.
“We continue to advance pre-construction work in Section 7 and are working to complete the necessary work to proceed with construction activities,” said Coastal GasLink official Suzanne Wilton.
“This is not unexpected and was taken into account in our overall planning due to previously being blocked from accessing the area.”
Wilton did note that some of the Section 8 work is within Wet’suwet’en territory and that 66 per cent of the its length had been cleared.
In all, Wilton said approximately 390,000 tonnes of pipe is required for the 670 kilometre-long pipeline with the majority of materials made in Canada due to the company’s specifications and high standards.