$80 million gas pipeline upgrade project proposed by PNG

Gas pipeline upgrades needed from Salvus to Port Edward near Prince Rupert

An $80 million gas pipeline upgrade project to the Western Transmission Gas Line has been announced by Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. (PNG). The segment of gas line to be replaced runs from the maintenance yard in Salvus, approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Terrace, to the pressure regulating station at Galloway Rapids, almost nine km southeast of Prince Rupert.

“The Western Transmission Gas Line is a critical part of our system. For more than 50 years, it has safely and reliably supplied thousands of PNG’s residential, commercial and industrial customers throughout the Prince Rupert and Port Edward area,” Joe Mazza, senior vice president, operations and engineering said, in the July 30 announcement.

The 80km section of eight-inch pipe runs underground through remote mountain regions along Hwy 16. Work is expected to take place within PNG’s existing pipeline corridor, referred to as a right-of-way, and nearby permitted temporary workspace. Construction on the phased project is expected to start in the summer of 2021 and to be completed by the fall of 2023.

“We regularly inspect and maintain the line, but some sections are nearing the end of their useful operating life. It is now time for an upgrade project to ensure the line’s continued high standard of operation,” Mazza said.

READ MORE: Pacific Northern Gas moves to reinstate full capacity and expand pipeline

The project is in the early planning stages with PNG preparing to submit a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity application for approval by its regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), the statement said.

PNG anticipates the application will be filed this fall with a BCUC decision released in the spring of 2021. Following the approval, construction would begin in the summer of 2021 and continue in phases each summer. Completion of the project is slated for the fall of 2023.

PNG said it is consulting with Indigenous communities and engaging with the public in advance of the BCUC application submission and will continue engagement throughout all project phases.

“PNG recognizes the importance of the territory to Indigenous communities, and the residents of Prince Rupert, Port Edward and the surrounding area,” Mazza said.

“We want to ensure that we are proposing a project that is good for the region. That is why we will be working with Indigenous communities and community leaders, and we will be reaching out to the broader public to share information and seek input through our website, toll-free number and virtual information sessions.”

The announcement outlines that PNG’s top priority for projects and day-to-day operations is the safety of employees, contractors and the public.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing, PNG will be hosting virtual public information sessions, building on pre-engagement meetings and archeological studies from earlier this year. The information sessions for the public will be held on August 19 at 6:30 p.m. and August 26 at 6:30 p.m.

“We look forward to hearing from the community, building our application and providing more economic, employment and training opportunities for the region through this project,” Mazza said.

“PNG is a wholly owned subsidiary of TriSummit Utilities Inc., owns and operates a natural gas transmission and distribution system in west-central British Columbia. Through its subsidiary Pacific Northern Gas (N.E.) Ltd. PNG also owns and operates natural gas distribution systems and a gas processing plant in the province’s northeast. This includes approximately 3,000 km of distribution mains and services pipelines and 1,200 km of transmission pipelines. PNG has been operating in northern British Columbia for over 50 years, and provides gas service to approximately 42,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 16 communities across western and northeastern British Columbia.”

To learn more about the project, upcoming information session and to provide feedback, visit: png.ca/projects/S2Ggasline.

READ MORE: Undetected cracks blamed for Enbridge gas pipeline blast in B.C. in 2018

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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