The 2021 NGTL system expansion will take place in the regions of Alberta and British Colombia in Canada. Image courtesy of TC Energy.
The NGTL system transports natural gas from the Western Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), one of the most prolific gas basins of the North America. Image courtesy of TC Energy.
The 2021 NGTL system expansion is expected to be completed by April 2021. Image courtesy of TC Energy.

The 2021 NGTL system expansion project is a proposed expansion to the existing NGTL natural gas gathering and transportation system located in Alberta and north-eastern British Columbia, Canada.

NOVA Gas Transmission Limited (NGTL), a subsidiary of TC Energy, is the owner and operator of the 24,568km NGTL pipeline system that delivers sweet natural gas from the Western Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) to the customers in Canada and the US.

The £2.25bn ($2.93bn) expansion project is a vital component of the £7.58bn ($9.9bn) NGTL infrastructure programme, which is aimed to add 3.5 billion cubic feet (bcf) of incremental delivery capacity per day between 2020 and 2024 to meet the increasing demand for natural gas in North American and global markets.

The expansion proposal includes 350km of new pipeline, three compressor stations, and associated facilities comprising valve sites and pipeline tie-ins in north-western Alberta.

The project was approved by the Government of Canada in October 2020 while the compressor station fieldwork is expected to be started in December 2020, followed by pipeline construction works in January 2021.

Proposed pipeline and route

The new 48in-diameter pipeline is planned to be constructed in eight sections in parallel to the existing NGTL pipeline from Grande Prairie to the north of Calgary in Alberta, covering three key areas including the Grande Prairie West Area, the Grande Prairie South Area, and the Edson South Area.

In the Grande Prairie West area, the pipeline will be added to the Grande Prairie Mainline in two segments at Valhalla and Elmworth for 35.7km and 46.9km respectively.

In the Grande Prairie South area, the pipeline will be developed in three segments at Karr, Deep Valley section, and Colt section for 56.8km, 69.1km, and 13.5km respectively.

In the Edson South Area, the pipeline will have three segments at Robb section, Dismal Creek section, and Brewster section for 41.8km, 31.8km, and 48.6km respectively.

Compressor stations

The 2021 NGTL system expansion project will add three compressor unit additions to the existing three compressor sections.

The proposed compressor station addition will include a 30MW compressor unit in the Nordegg compressor station at LSD SW 20-043-12 W5M in Clearwater County, a 30MW unit and coolers for the Didsbury compressor station at LSD NE and SE-29-30-02-W5M in Mountainview County, and a 30MW unit and coolers for the Beiseker compressor station at LSD NE 24-027-25 W4M in Rockyview County.­

NGTL pipeline expansion details

NGTL proposes to install a control valve and associated pipeline tie-ins near TC Energy’s January Creek site at LSD NE 27-054-14 W5M in Yellowhead County to allow the flow of gas from the January Creek Lateral to the Western Alberta System.

The land surface for the pipeline expansion route will be reclaimed once the project comes online in 2021. Landowners will have full rights to access right-of-way areas under the agreements executed with the National Energy Board Act and National Energy Board Damage Prevention Regulations.

A temporary workspace will be created near the site area to accommodate the workforce and carry out operations.

2021 NGTL system expansion project timeline

NGTL began engagement with indigenous groups, landowners, and associated stakeholders in 2017. The primary community and property engagements were completed, and the project study was launched in Q1 of 2018. The regulatory filing was submitted to the National Energy Board in the second quarter of the same year.

Existing NGTL system details

The NGTL gas gathering and transportation system connects the WCSB to supply gas to the customers in northeast British Columbia and northwest Alberta, and to the potential LNG export sites on the Canadian west coast.

The pipeline was previously expanded with the addition of five new pipeline sections for a total length of 230km and two compressor stations in northern Alberta, as part of the 2017 NGTL system expansion project.