Growing natural gas use by power generation and industrial plants is behind a C$509 million ($382 million) capacity expansion approved Thursday for TC Energy Corp.’s Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) network in Alberta and British Columbia.


Delivery contracts for about 310 MMcf/d support the addition of 85 kilometers (51 miles) of 48-inch-diameter pipe, a project named the Edson Mainline Expansion after the nearest Alberta town.

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) endorsed technical, environmental and community aspects of the project and recommended final approval by the federal cabinet in Ottawa after it completes consultations with native tribes affected by construction.

The regulatory review included tribal participation grants totaling C$1.36 million ($1 million). The CER’s approval conditions provide for native monitoring of the project before, during and after construction.

Deliveries, scheduled to start April 2022, will go to southern Alberta. By 2029, NGTL forecasts Alberta gas demand will grow by 133% to 700 MMcf/d for power generation and by 20% to 1.8 Bcf/d for petrochemical plants and refineries.

The CER expansion approval says “the benefits of the project are considerable,” including customer supplies, producer access to markets, job creation, native benefits and government tax revenues.

NGTL expansions, along with the Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink pipeline projects now under construction, fuel a dawning revival of Alberta and B.C. field activity, says the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC). A new CAODC forecast predicts 3,771 Canadian wells in 2021, up 14% from the anticipated 2020 final count of 3,771.