Natural gas demand by Alberta thermal oilsands plants is propelling the latest entry in serial additions to TransCanada Corp.’s Western Canada gas supply collection network, Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL).
Approval is sought by July by TransCanada from the National Energy Board (NEB) for a C$207 million ($166-million) capacity expansion that NGTL calls the North Path Delivery Project, which would serve the bitumen extraction region.
North Path as designed would include a 36-inch diameter pipeline, plus two compressor stations to draw on growing gas production from western Alberta and eastern British Columbia.
With NEB approval, NGTL’s schedule calls for a November 2019 start on deliveries into the bitumen belt northeast of the Alberta capital, Edmonton.
Current TransCanada market projections anticipate Western Canada gas consumption, propelled by gas-fired thermal oilsands and power plants, will increase by 30% to 8.2 Bcf/d in 2027 from the 2017 average of 6.3 Bcf/d.
NEB studies foresee new extraction technology and emissions cleanups gradually paring gas consumption per bbl of bitumen production down to an average of 1 Mcf from the current 1.4 Mcf. However, overall industry growth is projected to drive up total oilsands gas use by 55% to 4.8 Bcf/d as of 2040.