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NEB Revises Schedule for Processing Mackenzie Pipeline Application

Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) said Tuesday that it has come up with a new schedule for proceeding on the technical review of the C$7 billion (US$5.6 billion) Mackenzie Gas pipeline project, which would bring gas from three onshore gas fields in the Northwest Territories to a connection with TransCanada's Alberta System (Nova). Regulators called a temporary halt in the proceeding in February and directed sponsors to file additional information.

The NEB had set a deadline of April 27 for all sides to complete written filings and be ready for oral hearings. But the deadline was dropped after interveners picked enough holes in the project's initial documentation to require the sponsors to assemble book-length volumes of additional information. The NEB now has set a deadline of July 15 for final reply evidence.

The new schedule is as follows: applicants' responses to information requests are due on March 31; letters of comment are due May 19; registration for oral statements are due May 19; written evidence of intervenors is due May 19; information requests to intervenors are due June 1; intervenors' responses to information requests are due June 30; and reply evidence is due July 15. The board said it will announce at a later date the times and locations of its public hearings.

The pipeline applications from Imperial Oil and the other sponsors call for construction of a 758-mile natural gas pipeline that extends from the Mackenzie River delta region of the Northwest Territories along the Mackenzie river and on into the province of Alberta to an interconnection with TransCanada's Alberta system. The project will also include a 298-mile pipeline to transport gas liquids from the delta to a point of interconnection with the Enbridge Pipelines system at Norman Wells, NWT.

Production initially will come from three onshore natural gas fields known as Taglu, Parsons Lake and Niglintgak. The gas will be transported through a gathering system to a processing facility in the Inuvik, NWT area where natural gas liquids would be separated for shipping. Other related facilities include compressor stations at Little Chicago, Norman Wells, Blackwater River and Trail River, NWT, and a heater station at Trout River, NWT.

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