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TransCanada to spend $1.67-billion to build gas pipeline in northeastern B.C.

Generalized map showing the location of the Montney Formation.

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

TransCanada Corp. expects to spend $1.67-billion to build a natural gas pipeline in northeastern British Columbia – a piece of infrastructure that could spur overseas exports.

The company wants to expand its north Montney pipeline network, and the proposed project would consist of two new pipeline segments and related facilities, according to TransCanada's filing with the National Energy Board this month. TransCanada in August pegged the project's cost at about $1.5-billion. One of TransCanada's wholly-owned subsidiaries, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), filed the regulatory request this month.

Energy producers are facing a dearth of infrastructure in remote areas of western Canada rich in natural gas. Without pipelines, processing and storage facilities, and other necessary infrastructure, the potential to export natural gas and related products will be stymied. TransCanada's regulatory filing argues its proposed project will help alleviate that problem.

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The expansion project will allow companies to access "gas markets across North America and to markets overseas as liquefied natural gas," the filing said. The expansion is "supported" by the company's "forecasts of gas supply in the North Montney area and of demand in markets that can be accessed through" parts of the existing network.

TransCanada said the so-called Aitken Creek section will run about 180.9 kilometres; while another slice, known as the Kahta section, will stretch about 125 kilometres. Related facilities such as compressor stations will be necessary if the pipelines proceed.

Potential customers want the Aitken Creek section running by April 1, 2016, and the Kahta section operating a year after that, TransCanada said. TransCanada in the filing said preliminary work must begin in the first quarter of 2015, with construction following in the third quarter of 2015, to meet the Aiken Creek deadline. TransCanada previously announced an agreement with Progress Energy Canada Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Malyasia's state-owned Petronas, to ship approximately two billion cubic feet per day in order to underpin the existing network's expansion.

TransCanada estimates the expansion project will cost $1.67-billion, according to the regulatory filing. The proposed pipelines would connect to existing pipeline and related infrastructure.

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About the Author

Carrie Tait joined the Globe in January, 2011, mainly reporting on energy from the Calgary bureau. Previously, she spent six years working for the National Post in both Calgary and Toronto. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a bachelor’s degree in political studies from the University of Saskatchewan. More

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