Environmental regulators in British Columbia (BC) have approved a request by Pacific Trail Pipelines LP (PTP) for an expansion to the Kitimat to Summit Lake (KSL) Looping Project, a proposed pipeline to transport natural gas from the Horn River Basin in Western Canada to the Pacific coast.

Operator Apache Canada Ltd. (40%), Encana Corp. (30%) and EOG Resources Canada Inc. (30%) had asked the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to amend PTP’s permits and allow for the KSL pipeline to be expanded from 36 inches in diameter to 42 inches to improve operational costs, not to increase gas flow.

EAO Executive Director Derek Sturko approved the expansion earlier this month. The EAO concluded that it was “satisfied that the change in diameter does not hold the potential for significant adverse effects. [Our] assessment is that the amendment will not impact asserted Aboriginal rights or treaty rights.”

The pipeline expansion faces additional regulatory hurdles with the provincial government.

According to the PTP sponsors, the C$1 billion KSL pipeline would have 1 Bcf/d of capacity and run 463 kilometers (288 miles), linking Kitimat with Spectra Energy Corp.’s gas processing complex at Summit Lake, BC (see Shale Daily, March 21, 2011). The pipeline is scheduled to be operational in 2015.

Apache, Encana and EOG also are partnering to build the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility near Kitimat, KM LNG. The facility would be able to run two 700 MMcf/d trains and export up to 1.4 Bcf/d at full capacity (see Shale Daily, Oct. 6, 2011). The National Energy Board in October issued KM LNG a 20-year license for tanker exports of 9.3 Tcf, the first LNG export license issued by Canadian officials.

Last month, the BC Oil and Gas Commission estimated that the province’s established natural gas reserves totaled 33 Tcf (see Shale Daily, March 13).