A C$6.7 billion ($5 billion) renovation and expansion program is scheduled for completion in April 2022 by Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL), TC Energy Corp.’s supply collection network in Alberta and British Columbia (BC).
A filing at the National Energy Board (NEB) says NGTL has obtained multi-year service contracts from shippers that enable financing and construction to proceed with seven projects on its 24,000-kilometer (14,400-mile) natural gas grid.
Pipe and compressors for 5.4 Bcf/d are in the package. While 3.5 Bcf/d (65%) of the new capacity will adapt the grid to changing supply sources, 1.9 Bcf/d (35%) will serve delivery growth.
Total NGTL traffic is forecast to increase by 16% to 13.7 Bcf/d by April 2022, compared with 11.8 Bcf/d in 2018. The network relays three-quarters of Alberta and BC gas production into long-distance national and export pipelines as well as western Canadian markets.
The work program is on schedule so far. The NEB and the federal cabinet still grant timely gas pipeline approvals despite increasingly complex hearings with growing participation by native, landowner and environmental interveners.
Construction of the C$1.7 billion ($1.3 billion) North Montney Mainline, for 1.7 Bcf/d from its namesake BC shale gas source, is under way with completion targets of September 2019 and April 2020.
Construction is nearing completion on the C$706 million ($530 million) Saddle West Expansion, with facilities for 382 MMcf/d scheduled to go into service this month.
A pair of smaller projects, the C$409 million West Path and the C$451 million Clearwater West, are well advanced in the regulatory process and scheduled to add capacity for a combined 1 Bcf/d in April and June 2020.
Hearings began in May on the next big stage in the growth agenda, the C$2.3 billion ($1.7 billion) 2021 NGTL System Expansion Project to install new pipe and compressors for 1.6 Bcf/d at multiple locations across the grid.
For completion in April 2022, NGTL has filed applications for a C$1.14 billion ($855 million) project pair named North Corridor and Edson Mainline, to deliver 682 MMcf/d to northern Alberta thermal oil sands plants and southern markets.
But after enduring severe price lows blamed on supply surpluses in 2018, Canadian industry factions maintain the pace of pipeline additions lags too far behind production changes and growth.
Assignments for a newly created Alberta gas ministry include trying to accelerate projects and develop spare capacity beyond the volumes specified in firm shipping contracts that traditionally drive the pipeline renovation and expansion agenda.
The lengths of shipper contracts that support the current growth program range from eight to 25 years. In its capital plan filing at the NEB, NGTL acknowledges costs of its system will rise but says revenue requirements and tolls remain to be determined by evolving gas traffic patterns, markets and economic conditions.
TransCanada Corp. changed its name to TC Energy at its annual meeting in Calgary last month.
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