‘Critical’ Coastal GasLink Pipeline on Target for 2023

By Maddy McCarty, P&GJ Digital Editor

Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will feed natural gas to one of the biggest LNG projects in Canada’s history, is almost halfway complete and on track to start up by 2023, experts say.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The project involves the construction and operation of a 48-inch (1,219-mm), 416-mile (670-km) pipeline from northeastern British Columbia to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) Canada Export Terminal now under construction near Kitimat. LNG Canada's Joint Venture Participants include Shell, Kogas, Mitsubishi, PetroChina and Petronas.

“It tends to get lost in the shuffle, but it is a massive, massive development,” said Chris Bloomer, president and CEO of Canadian Energy Pipeline Association. “From an investment point of view, it’s huge. (LNG Canada) is the first LNG project off the west coast of Canada.”

Coastal GasLink will be the first large-scale transmission pipeline moving gas across the Rockies to the coast, Bloomer said, and it will tap into one of the largest natural gas reserves in the world.

TC Energy is building the pipeline, which will be capable of moving 2.1 Bcf/d (59 MMcm/d) of natural gas with the potential for delivery of up to 5 Bcf/d (142 MMcm/d).

The Coastal GasLink project, including engineering, procurement and construction, was 43% complete as of Coastal GasLink’s April construction update. The construction was 26% complete.

“Across the project, significant progress has been made to ensure the project moves through spring freshet in an environmentally responsible manner to prepare for the summer construction program,” a Coastal GasLink spokesperson said. “The Coastal GasLink team did recently achieve a significant milestone: the completion of 692 km of pipe delivered along the 670-km project route with zero safety incidents.”

There will be a May construction update in the coming days, they said, which can be found by clicking here.

From the LNG Canada facility, the LNG will be exported to Asian markets, helping to reduce emissions by replacing high-carbon coal.

While demand for LNG has fluctuated during the Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for LNG over the lifetime of the project is only going to increase, Bloomer said.

“All over the world, there’s projects planned,” he said. “For the long term, LNG is going to be in the growth mode.”

This project will see its place as the market develops, and it is important for contributing to the community, providing jobs and supplying clean energy.

Despite its role in providing cleaner energy, indigenous and climate activists across Canada took up the cause of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who opposed the natural gas line, leading to protesters blocking train lines, Vancouver’s port entrance and at least one highway in February after police dismantled a rail barricade in southern Ontario and arrested 10 indigenous protesters.

Protests were in a small area of Section 7 of the project, the Coastal GasLink spokesperson said. Section 7 is 78 kilometers (48 miles) from south of Houston, British Columbia, to north of Morice Lake. The site is 58% cleared and pipe installation has not begun there, according to the construction update.

“During those times, construction continued to proceed across the 670-kilometre project route,” the spokesperson said. “Coastal GasLink is fully permitted and is the result of rigorous fieldwork and consultation with Indigenous and local communities. Our team has and will continue to ensure that Indigenous communities are informed and have opportunities to provide input to the project.”

Coastal GasLink continues to be vital to the long-term prosperity of the North, B.C. and Canada, the project spokesperson said.

“We hope that Coastal GasLink, when it’s up and running and delivering gas to the LNG facility, it will see other developments,” Bloomer said. “It’s critically important for the energy future globally. We have a large source of clean energy that the world needs.”

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