It will still be a few years until Canada joins the ranks of nations exporting natural gas in the form of LNG. Until then, a great deal of work has to be completed on both the LNG Canada liquefaction and export facility in Kitimat, BC, and the primary gas pipeline linked to it: the Coastal GasLink. Unlike most LNG export sites in the U.S., which can receive feedgas from multiple production basins via an array of major trunklines, the LNG Canada plant will be relying on gas supplies from primarily one basin: the Montney in Western Canada. And all that feedgas will be transported across British Columbia through one mammoth pipeline. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the small number of pipelines that will supply gas from the Montney to Coastal GasLink for eventual delivery to LNG Canada.
It was in October 2018 that Canada’s natural gas industry happily received the news that a new export outlet for its primary product was going to be constructed in Kitimat, a small town on British Columbia’s North Coast. A Shell Canada-led consortium had announced at that time plans to construct a 1.8-Bcf/d LNG export plant (LNG Canada) and an affiliated trunkline (Coastal GasLink, or CGL) to provide the 2.1 Bcf/d (14 MMtpa) of total feedgas (exports plus fuel) required for the plant from the prolific unconventional Montney Basin in Western Canada. With production and reserves rapidly growing in the Montney, the new LNG plant was seen as a means to not only create immense value by exporting the gas in the form of LNG to higher-priced Asian markets, but also a way to break Canada’s long-standing reliance on a single export customer: the U.S.
Since that announcement, an immense amount of construction work has taken place, but a lot more is still to be done before LNG exports from Kitimat become a reality. We discussed much of this work — and some of the COVID-related complications and delays — in our two-part blog, Stir It Up. In Part 1, we described the work that had been completed to date on the $30 billion LNG Canada plant, which the Shell-led consortium hopes to have fully operational by 2025. In Part 2, we examined the $4.5 billion CGL pipeline that will be supplying natural gas to the export site, and that is being constructed by Calgary, AB-based TC Energy. Running 416 miles (670 kilometers) from the heart of the prolific gas-producing Montney unconventional gas play near Dawson Creek, BC (Figure 1), the pipeline will provide up to 2.1 Bcf/d of natural gas to the LNG Canada plant (yellow tank icons). At the time we wrote that previous blog, TC Energy was still publicly committing to a late-2023 start-up for the pipeline, apparently well in advance of the planned 2025 date for the LNG Canada plant to come online.
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