Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) Thursday approved an application from TransCanada unit NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) to construct and operate its C$307 million Horn River Project, an extension of NGTL's Alberta System to transport sweet natural gas from the Horn River area in British Columbia (BC) to a tie-in point on the existing Northwest Mainline of the Alberta System.

The project would provide customers direct access to the NOVA Inventory Transfer market. TransCanada said it is pursuing the project in response to rapidly increasing development of gas production from the northeastern BC shale basins.

It consists of two primary components: NGTL's acquisition and operation of the Ekwan Pipeline and the construction and operation of new pipeline and metering facilities. The new facilities include the Cabin Section (72 km of new pipeline) and the Komie East Extension (2.2 km of new pipeline). Four new meter stations would also be constructed and the existing Ekwan meter station would be modified.

The NEB set 31 conditions with which NGTL must comply during the construction and operation of the project. Several of the conditions target the protection of the boreal woodland caribou and caribou habitat, migratory birds and wetlands in the project area.

The schedule for the C$237 million (US$232 million) project sets a target of May 1, 2012 for service to begin (see Daily GPI, Oct. 11, 2010).

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