THE POSSIBILITY of more liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in the region could now mean at least one pipeline running north of Terrace toward the coast.
The pipeline would be built by Spectra Energy in partnership with the BG Group, one of the world’s dominant gas shippers, and transport gas from the huge deposits in northeastern B.C.
Running from northeastern B.C., the pipeline would travel approximately 850 kilometres to property the BG Group has optioned on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert from the Prince Rupert Port Corporation.
An exact route from a storage facility north of what’s called Station 2, a major gas transport hub located southwest of Fort St. John, and then from Station 2 to the coast and then to the planned LNG terminal has yet to be set.
But Spectra vice president Gary Weilinger did say Nisga’a territory and the Nass Valley area are on the potential route list as the line gets closer to the coast.
“If you had to pick a point from where it might emerge [from the northeast], that would be Cranberry Junction,” he said. “It could be north of the Nass or south of the Nass. There’s a lot of work that has to be done yet.”
That work involves not only needed environmental assessments but geo-technical work to determine engineering standards according to terrain encountered.
Weilinger said the 48-inch diameter pipeline will run underground unless soil conditions along portions of the route dictate otherwise.
“We’ll be doing more fieldwork this year, building helicopter pads where needed,” he said.
“Pipelines tend to follow existing disturbed areas where there are existing forestry roads, for example, or rail lines.”
“We do so because we need access to get equipment and material in and out of there.”
Weilinger said route selection also depends on what local residents can contribute. “Our approach is to really understand local knowledge,” said Weilinger.
Spectra and BG concentrated on Prince Rupert as a location for an LNG plant and the area north of here as a pipeline route because there are not a lot of other companies interested in the same area.
“For property and for pipelines, it’s getting pretty congested down there,” said Weilinger of Kitimat being the preferred location for two pipelines already and three LNG plants.
But Spectra could have company to the north of Terrace depending upon work being done by Petronas, another LNG giant owned by the Malaysian government.
It bought Progress Energy, a Canadian gas company that operates in northeastern B.C., in the summer and announced at the same time it was conducting a feasibility study on a property on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.
Progress official Greg Kist said confidentiality agreements with pipeline builders prevented him from providing route information for now. “We are evaluating the proposals on their technical and commercial merits and once a decision has been made, we can discuss our plans more broadly,” he said.
A Who’s Who Guide
HERE’S a quick guide to northwest liquefied natural gas plant and pipeline projects.
BC LNG. Also called Douglas Channel LNG, this is the smallest of the ones up for development.
The plant, partially owned by the Haisla, would be on a floating platform offshore near Kitimat. It would handle 170-195 million cubic feet of gas a day pumped through the existing Pacific Northern Gas pipeline now owned by AltaGas of Calgary.
Est. cost is $400-$600 million. A gas export licence has been granted.
Kitimat LNG. Apache, Encana and EOG own the Pacific Trails Pipeline which would feed a plant they would also own with 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day.
Estimated total cost is more than $4 billion. A gas export licence has been granted.
An official construction announcement was expected to have happened by now.
Canada LNG. Shell is a major partner in this project along with three Asian companies.
The companies would also be consumers of the finished product.
The pipeline is called Coastal Gas Link and the estimated total cost is more than $12 billion. Also big is the amount of gas involved – anywhere from 1.8 billion to 3.6 billion cubic feet a day.
A 25-year export licence has been applied for. Plant would go on the old Methanex site at Kitimat.
BG/Spectra Energy. The LNG plant would go on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert, being fed by a pipeline that could deliver up to 4 billion cubic feet of gas a day.
A cost estimate is not available and this project is in a feasibility stage expected to last between one and two years.
Petronas/Progress Energy. This is another plant that would go near Prince Rupert, on Lelu Island, and it is also the subject of a feasibility study.
An accompanying pipeline would deliver between 500 million and 1 billion cubic feet of gas a day.
A cost estimate isn’t available.
Petronas is owned by the Malaysian government and bought Canadian-owned Progress Energy this summer for $5 billion.