AltaGas Ltd. said Wednesday it was given final regulatory approval for a C$235 million natural gas processing facility and gathering system in the Alberta portion of the Montney Shale.

The Calgary-based company said the facility would have a processing capacity of 120 MMcf/d and be built near Gordondale, which is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Grande Prairie, AB. The plant is expected to be online in late 2012.

The company said liquid extraction facilities at the plant would give producers in the area the option of having liquids extracted from the gas they bring for processing. AltaGas also plans to sell liquids to customers.

"Natural gas is a part of Canada's energy future," Paula Dunlop, spokesperson for the Canadian Gas Association, told NGI's Shale Daily on Thursday. "We have an abundant supply, and it's a reliable and clean source of energy. These kinds of developments make sure that natural gas is there for customers when they need it."

Encana Corp., the largest producer in the Montney Shale with 720,000 net leasehold acres, signed a long-term gathering and processing agreement with AltaGas last year (see Shale Daily, Nov. 9, 2010).