Pipelines Planned To Connect Shale Gas Reserves To Alberta System

April 2009 Vol. 236 No. 4

TransCanada plans to build two pipelines as integrated extensions of the Alberta System after receiving National Energy Board approval of its application to have the System federally regulated on Feb. 26.

TransCanada’s construction decisions were likely encouraged by the positive open season response received on both projects.

According to company officials, strong support was received for firm transportation contracts of 378 MMcf/d to connect new shale gas supply in the Horn River basin north of Fort Nelson B.C. to the Alberta System. The Horn River pipeline project is 196 miles long and is expected to use new pipelines up to 36-inch diameter and an existing pipeline in the area to transport sweet natural gas from the Horn River area to a tie-in point on the existing Alberta System. The pipeline is expected to be operational early in the second quarter of 2011. The project is expected to cost $340 million.

"The positive commercial response is a result of the tremendous, largely untapped source for unconventional natural gas in the northeastern B.C. shale basins, combined with TransCanada's ability to meet this demand economically and efficiently," said Hal Kvisle, TransCanada president/CEO. “Looking forward, we expect to add future capacity to the line as the right opportunities present themselves.”

The Alberta System consists of more than 14,600 miles of (23,500 km) of pipeline and associated facilities, all located within Alberta, which will be added to the 29,827 miles (48,000 km) that the NEB already regulates across Canada.

TransCanada is also encouraged by strong commercial support it has received for gas transmission service from the Groundbirch area located west of Dawson Creek. Shippers have committed to firm gas transportation contracts that will reach 1.1 Bcf/d by 2014. The proposed Groundbirch Pipeline will be 50 miles in length and is expected to start service in later 2010. The project is expected to cost $250 million.