TransCanada subsidiary has spent $400mn so far on pipeline link
After six years of planning, hundreds of meetings with First Nations and an expenditure of some $400mn, Coastal GasLink, the $4bn pipeline that will deliver gas to the $36bn LNG Canada terminal at Kitimat, British Columbia, awaits a positive FID from LNG Canada partners before putting shovels in the ground on the 670 km pipeline.
Rick Gateman, president of TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink, will address two panels at the upcoming Canada Gas & LNG Conference in Vancouver. Ahead of the conference he answered a series of questions from NGW about the pipeline, which will carry an estimated 1.7bn ft3/day of natural gas to Kitimat.
NGW: What is the permitting status of Coastal GasLink?
Rick Gateman: The project has received all required major regulatory permits. The project is primarily regulated under the Oil and Gas Activities Act (administered by the BC Oil and Gas Commission) and the Environmental Assessment Act, which is overseen by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The project’s environmental assessment certificate was issued by the EAO on October 24, 2014. The permits from the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) were issued in 2015 and 2016 and have been renewed as required. Ancillary permits for various local purposes will be obtained in the coming months leading up to construction.
Additionally, after further consultation with First Nations groups along the route, Coastal GasLink has applied to the EAO for a small route deviation about 4 km south of our certified pipeline corridor. The South of Houston Alternate Route (SHAR) was identified to help further minimize potential impacts on traditional and cultural-use lands identified by regional First Nations communities. Coastal GasLink filed its amendment applications for SHAR with the EAO and the OGC in October 2017. The project expects to hear a decision in this respect in the coming weeks. Both the original corridor or the SHAR option are viable pipeline routes.
NGW: Could you detail the level of engagement with affected First Nations?
RG: Since the project was announced in June 2012, we have held hundreds of meetings and discussions with First Nations groups to discuss project details and gather comments and feedback around pipeline routing, planning and construction. To date, more than one-third of all field work completed on the project has been conducted by Aboriginal people. These partnerships have helped ensure additional care is taken around sensitive landscapes and historically significant areas along the route, while also providing important economic benefits for Aboriginal groups looking for jobs, contracting opportunities and education and skills training for their members. We will continue to engage all First Nations groups along the pipeline to ensure their questions are answered and the latest information about our project is provided to them.
Strong support has been demonstrated for the Coastal GasLink project among First Nations groups along the right-of-way. The project team has signed long-term project agreements with just over 80% of these First Nations and is continuing ongoing discussions with those that remain. While consultation is the main driver behind our approved regulatory permits, Coastal GasLink is striving to go one step further and conclude all of its project agreements with First Nations groups. Over the last six years, Coastal GasLink has maintained a high level of engagement with all First Nations along the pipeline route.
NGW: What about with other affected landowners? Have all the required right-of-way easements been negotiated?
RG: Approximately 94% of the lands that the Coastal GasLink pipeline will traverse are Crown lands, for which pipeline permits have been granted. Of the remaining 6% of privately held lands, approximately 93% of those agreements are complete and we expect to conclude agreements with the remainder. We have been working with all landowners along the pipeline route since the project began and are confident in their high levels of support for the project.
NGW: Could you provide an indication of the amount invested so far by TransCanada in Coastal GasLink?
RG: Pre-development spending to date totals approximately $400mn. If the LNG Canada joint venture partners elect to not proceed with their project, the full amount of TransCanada’s pre-development costs, plus a return on those costs, is reimbursable to TransCanada.
Of the total spend, Coastal GasLink has spent about $60mn locally in northern BC, including over $3mn on community investment initiatives, education and training initiatives. During construction and operation, the benefits to BC will grow significantly. Millions of additional dollars in contracting, employment, business and tax revenues will be available for local and Aboriginal communities to support local needs such as fire and police services, school districts, hospital districts, waste management and more.
Rick Gateman, president of TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink will be a Speaker at Canada Gas & LNG Exhibition and Conference – May 14-16, Vancouver, Canada.