Map shows location of B.C. shale gas formations and 'early conceptual routes' for the proposed pipeline.

New pipeline to feed natural gas exports

Pipeline across northern B.C. would supply new natural gas export facilities at Prince Rupert.

Two months after opening its newest natural gas processing plant near Dawson Creek, Spectra Energy has announced a partnership that will more than double its B.C. capacity with a large-scale pipeline to Prince Rupert.

Spectra and British Gas (BG) Group plc announced Monday a development agreement to construct an 850-km large-diameter pipeline connecting its hub of operations near Fort St. John with proposed liquefied natural gas facilities near Prince Rupert.

The pipeline would connect vast shale gas resources in the Montney formation near Fort St. John and the Liard, Horn River and Cordova Embayment shales near Fort Nelson. Its capacity of 4.2 million cubic feet per day compares to Spectra’s existing gas handling capacity of 2.4 million cubic feet per day.

BG Group has optioned an 80-hectare site in the Ridley industrial area owned by the Prince Rupert Port Authority for a possible liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility. Operating gas production facilities in 20 countries, BG is currently building a new LNG plant in Australia.

The joint announcement, the companies said “early conceptual routes” have been developed, with consultation planned for affected routes. The project timeline is to begin construction by 2015 and complete the pipeline by 2020.

Two other gas pipelines, the Pacific Trail and Coastal GasLink projects, have been proposed to supply LNG facilities at Kitimat.

Spectra’s B.C. operations started as Westcoast Transmission Corp. with construction of B.C.’s first gas processing plant on the Peace River at Taylor in 1949. It still operates that plant, and pipeline network that supplies natural gas to the B.C. Lower Mainland.

Premier Christy Clark and Energy Minister Rich Coleman attended opening ceremonies in July for Spectra’s new Dawson Processing Plant. Doug Bloom, president of Spectra Energy Transmission West, said the company was near completion of its $1.5 billion B.C. investment program, with another $4-6 billion to be invested after 2015.

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