CALGARY - The Government of Canada has approved TransCanada's 2017 NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) System Expansion Project, subject to 36 binding conditions.
The $1.3-billion 2017 NGTL project in Alberta is expected to create up to 3,000 jobs during construction, address the need for increased natural gas transmission capacity along the existing NGTL system and support economic growth, a release explains. More than 90 per cent of the project will parallel existing roads and pipelines.
"The twin imperatives of economic prosperity and environmental protection guided us in our decision-making and I am confident the right decision was made in the interest of Canadians and that this project supports the principles of sustainable development," said Jim Carr, Canada's minister of natural resources.
The protection and restoration of caribou habitat was the subject of five of the 36 conditions as the project's route goes through several boreal woodland caribou ranges. In January, the government announced a set of interim principles to guide decisions on major projects already being reviewed while longer-term reforms to regulatory processes are underway.
The 2017 NGTL project was assessed using these interim principles.
The government took into consideration the National Energy Board's recommendation report, Environment and Climate Change Canada's assessment of upstream greenhouse gas emissions, the views of Canadians gathered through an online questionnaire and enhanced consultations with indigenous people.
The expansion includes five pipeline section loops, totalling approximately 230 kilometres and the addition of two compressor station units.
The first facilities are expected to be ready for service in the second quarter of 2017, with the entire project expected to be complete by quarter two of 2018.
"Expansion of the NGTL System is an important part of TransCanada's industry-leading $25-billion near-term capital program," said Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
The project will require the purchase of $1.2 billion in Canadian goods and services, including approximately $800 million in labour income during construction, the release reads.
TransCanada has engaged in extensive consultation with indigenous communities, working with 55 communities in the project area. The company stated it will continue to engage indigenous communities and landowners throughout the lifecycle of the project.
Currently the NGTL system gathers approximately 75 per cent of Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) production. It provides shippers with options to transport WCSB natural gas to growing markets in North America.
So far in 2016, NGTL's average transported volume is approximately 11.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), compared to the 2015 average of 11 Bcf/d.