Production growth from the Montney Shale in Western Canada has prompted an Enbridge Inc. subsidiary to propose a C$2.5 billion ($1.9 billion) natural gas system.

Enbridge Frontier Inc. set a target date of 2024 to complete a processing plant and up to 170 kilometers (102 miles) of pipe with initial capacity of 1.5 Bcf/d of natural gas and 100,000 b/d of natural gas liquids (NGL).

A project description filed at the British Columbia (BC) Environmental Assessment Office said consultation is underway with native tribes and local authorities in the construction area adjacent to the southern leg in the Alaska Highway west of Fort St. John.

NGLs are firmly established as a Canadian industrial growth field, the filing noted. Since 2012 liquids production has increased by 52% to 944,000 b/d from 623,000 b/d.

The Enbridge Frontier schedule matches the first BC liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project now under construction, LNG Canada and its Coastal Gaslink pipeline, which would move supply from the Montney region.

LNG Canada, led by Royal Dutch Shell plc, expects to begin operations in the mid-2020s. The project would be supplied in part with Montney gas, which holds an estimated 449 Tcf, along with 14.5 billion bbl of liquid byproducts and 1.1 billion bbl of oil.

Enbridge Frontier is following the LNG Canada example of relying on BC provincial project approval and avoiding the national regulatory arena. The federal scene becomes more complicated as of Wednesday (Aug. 28), when a hotly contested Impact Assessment Act, dubbed by industry supporters as the “no more pipelines bill,” goes into force.

The forecast price tag for the new northern BC gas liquids network is liable to change, according to the sponsor. “The estimated capital cost is in development and is highly reliant on the final selected route, and pipeline and plant design.”

Enbridge Frontier predicted its project would spin off additional northern industrial development by stimulating other companies to build specialized NGL handling plants and railway facilities.