Increasing northern shale production has prompted TransCanada Corp. to announce a C$655 million ($490 million) addition to its supply collection network in Alberta and British Columbia (BC), Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL).

NGTL plans to apply to Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) in late 2017 to add capacity in 2019 for 355 MMcf/d in the Saddle Hills region, which is 500 kilometers (300 miles) northwest of the Alberta capital of Edmonton.

TransCanada vice-president Karl Johannson said the Saddle West Project would provide service for “a critical area of the NGTL system that connects and transports growing supplies of unconventional natural gas.”

The region straddles the northern Alberta-BC boundary, where exploration and production companies are using Canadian versions of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing on shale and tight formations in the prolific Montney, Duvernay and Deep Basin regions.

The new project would expand on a C$1.29 billion ($968 million) package of NGTL additions that the NEB approved in June for completion in 2017 to fulfill 25 long-term gas transportation contracts.

On the demand side of the northern market the prime customer is Canada’s biggest and fastest-growing industrial gas consumer, Alberta thermal oilsands production.