NEB gives go-ahead for $324M Northwest Mainline Expansion Project
By Andrew SnookConstruction Law Skills Development
The National Energy Board recently gave NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd (NGTL) the green light for the Northwest Mainline Expansion Project.
The $324-million project will comprise of the building and operation of three natural gas pipeline loops in northeast B.C. and northwest Alberta totalling 111.2 kilometres, which will connect natural gas supply lines from the Upper Peace River area to various Canadian and American markets.
The pipeline loops are going to be built next to existing rights-of-way (RoW).
The NEB stated it is satisfied with NGTL’s efforts to minimize potential environmental impacts by proposing a RoW that is largely alongside existing RoWs, and added that if the project is built, that it would not result in new permanent access roads.
Project approval from the NEB is dependent on conditions regarding pipeline integrity, environmental protection, the monitoring of caribou habitat, and matters involving public and Aboriginal consultation that must be met by the NGTL.
The NGTL will have to submit regular updates informing the NEB on consultation activities involving Aboriginal groups and explain how any concerns are addressed.
The NEB had issued Hearing Order GH-2-2011 on June 10, 2011 and held a two-day public hearing on Nov. 29, 2011 in Fort Nelson, B.C.
The Board accepted NGTL’s submission that adequate market demand exists for the gas that would be transported by the expansion project.