Eastern Canadian Pipe Link Planned
A new round of expansion is getting under way in the budding
natural gas industry in eastern Canada, starting with construction
of the last missing link in the country's transcontinental pipeline
grid. Longer range, there are possibilities of a new major
pipeline to transport Atlantic Canada production to major markets.
Gaz Metropolitain in Montreal and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc.
have teamed up to complete the system with a project called Cartier
Pipeline. The plan calls for a C$270 million (US$186 million) line
to run 164 miles along the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City
and the western border of New Brunswick, plus an allied short link
to Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The 20-inch line is
scheduled to go into service by 2004, capable of carrying 184
MMcf/d immediately and up to 340 MMcf/d with the addition of
In a reversal of a quarter-century of older plans to complete
the transcontinental system by extending eastbound-TransCanada
PipeLines and TransQuebec and Maritimes Pipeline, the Cartier line
will flow west to enable Gaz Metro's Quebec distribution grid to
tap into M&NE and the Sable Offshore Energy Project. President
Robert Tessier said "the additional supply security and diversity
provided by a link into the East Coast basin is of strategic
importance to Gaz Metropolitain and our Quebec gas."
Enbridge likewise plans to use the project as a supply source.
The Cartier line will enable additions to the new gas distribution
system that the Calgary company is building in New Brunswick, and
serve as an alternative supply source for the western Quebec and
eastern Ontario distribution franchise of Toronto-based Enbridge
At the same time, Enbridge president Pat Daniel confirmed that a
much bigger plan is gestating behind the scenes. PanCanadian
Petroleum Ltd. is considering proposals that it sought from
Enbridge for connecting its Deep Panuke discovery offshore of Nova
Scotia to markets in both the northeastern United States and
eastern Canada. After four straight stunning drilling successes
with 15,000-foot-deep wells 150 miles out to sea southeast of
Halifax, PanCanadian has set a target of making a development
decision in February.
The pipeline proposals potentially run into the C$1-billion
range. In the midst of the drilling campaign a year ago, before
enough wells had been drilled to document the full extent of the
find, PanCanadian raised the possibility of a 400 MMcf/d production
development costing C$645 million (US$445 million). Daniel said
Enbridge presented PanCanadian with a range of possibilities. They
include an entirely new, subsea direct route to the U.S. Atlantic
seaboard from the production field.
Daniel said he suspected that idea was less likely to carry the
day than a less dramatic second major option, connecting to
M&NE's land route across Atlantic Canada to the Boston area
with a resulting expansion of its capacity. There are also
understood to be discussions on a new land route capable of serving
both Atlantic Canadian and northeastern U.S. markets. The land
route is likely to appeal most Canadian federal and provincial
policy-makers because it offers to enhance domestic gas supply
security and diversity.
Gordon Jaremko, Calgary
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