Responding to customer demand for more natural gas processing capacity in the prolific Montney play of northeast British Columbia (BC), Spectra Energy said it plans to build a new 200 MMcf/d processing plant west of Dawson Creek.

The proposed Dawson Processing Plant will be built in two phases with the first 100 MMcf/d of processing capacity available in late 2011 and the remaining capacity available in early 2013. The expansion facilities are supported by long-term customer commitments. As overall BC natural gas production is forecast to double, further development opportunities in Northeast BC are anticipated, Spectra said.

"The new plant is an important part of our growth strategy and our now about $1.5 billion investment opportunity in northeast British Columbia," said Doug Bloom, president of Spectra Energy Transmission West. "The new plant capacity is fully contracted, further extends our asset base in the rapidly growing Montney natural gas play and will be integrated with our existing natural gas gathering and processing facilities in the area."

According to a new national inventory of deposits prepared for the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas (CSUG) last month, evolving technology for tapping shale, coal and tight formations will eventually increase Canada's recognized natural gas endowment about six-fold to an astronomical 4,000 Tcf (see NGI, May 17). And the resource endowment could well turn out to be much larger than even the new estimate.

The CSUG report pointed to eight major deposits where there has been too little exploration, technical study or disclosure of early drilling results to even begin to generate resource estimates: the Devonian, Montney and Colorado shales of Alberta; the Devonian and Liard deposits in the Northwest Territories; and a variety of shale and hydrates formations in Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Arctic and offshore regions.

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