NorthRiver Midstream Inc has received a recommendation of approval from the Commission of the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) for its NEBC Connector Project, which includes constructing and operating two parallel, 133.6-mile (215-kilometer) condensate and natural gas liquids (NGL) pipelines from British Columbia to Alberta.
The project, with an estimated capital cost of the project is $255.5 million (CAD 350 million), involves two parallel small-diameter pipelines from NorthRiver’s existing Highway Hub, approximately 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Wonowon to the Gordondale area of Alberta, about 11.8 miles (19 kilometers) east of the B.C.-Alberta border. Approximately 91 percent of the proposed route parallels existing linear disturbances such as other pipelines and roads, the CER said in a news release Wednesday.
“The project is critical to the continued development of the Montney in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin,” NorthRiver said in its application cover letter, adding that the “customer-driven solution” has the primary purpose of improving market access for existing and anticipated growth volumes by increasing the number of transportation options for producers of condensate and NGLs. The company plans to start construction in the third quarter of 2024 and to put the project into service in the second quarter of 2025, according to the CER’s decision-in-brief document on the project.
As a part of its application, NorthRiver “acknowledged the existence of significant adverse cumulative effects in the project area and committed to implementing measures to offset the project’s contribution to cumulative effects”, the CER noted. NorthRiver filed the project application in November 2021, and the hearing record closed in July of this year.
Input from potentially affected Indigenous Peoples played a crucial role in shaping conditions for the project, the CER stated, “including those with specific requirements placed on a project guiding its construction and operation”. The conditions are in addition to the typical legal requirements that are a part of the regulatory framework.
The CER said that the 49 conditions for the NEBC Connector approval are related to construction, safety, environmental protection, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, offsets, employment, and monitoring. “The incorporation of Indigenous knowledge and engagement with potentially affected Indigenous Peoples is a key feature of many conditions, helping mitigate the project’s impacts on Indigenous and treaty rights”, the commission added.
The commission concluded that the offset plan should include NorthRiver contributing to the Blueberry River First Nation – B.C. Restoration fund and the Treaty 8 Restoration Fund, as well as establishing an Indigenous-led land securement fund, the release said.
The CER’s recommendation of approval will be submitted to the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, who will then take the recommendation report to the Governor in Council, with whom the final approval decision lies, according to the release. The Governor in Council has 90 days to decide whether or not to direct the commission to issue a certificate unless an extension is granted.
NorthRiver is a Canadian gas gathering and processing business with operations in British Columbia and Alberta. The company provides connectivity for its customers to major demand markets including the U.S. Pacific Northwest, U.S. Midwest, and Western Canada. NorthRiver’s gas processing facilities are located across the majority of the Montney resource Play in Northeast British Columbia and Northwest Alberta.
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