NEB Approves South Peace Pipeline Project Application
The National Energy Board (NEB) has approved an application from Westcoast Energy Inc., carrying on business as Spectra Energy Transmission, (Westcoast) to construct the South Peace Pipeline Project.
The proposed South Peace Pipeline Project is an approximately 92 kilometres extension of Westcoast’s existing raw gas gathering system near Fort St. John, British Columbia. The new 508-millimetre (20-inch) diameter pipeline would carry gas from the area south of Fort St. John and the Peace River northward to connect to Westcoast’s McMahon processing plant, in Taylor, B.C. The project, with an estimated construction value of $95 million, would connect to either end of an existing pipeline across the Peace River.
Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard Z662-07 establishes essential requirements and minimum standards for the design, materials, construction, operation, and maintenance of gas pipeline systems. The CSA standard has specific provisions for sour gas service pipelines. Westcoast committed to meet all applicable provisions in the standard.
The South Peace Pipeline will be linked to Westcoast’s control room in Fort St. John, B.C. Westcoast also has a comprehensive Emergency Management Plan that is updated annually and filed with the NEB, and an Operations Security Plan to help ensure the safety of the public and Westcoast employees by maintaining the security of all Westcoast facilities. The South Peace Pipeline will be incorporated into Westcoast’s existing Security Plan.
The NEB noted that Westcoast effectively identified potentially affected stakeholders and Aboriginal people with an interest in the project and that consultation has been ongoing since July 2007. The NEB determined that impacts on Aboriginal interests are likely to be minimal and that potential impacts will be appropriately mitigated. The NEB expects Westcoast to provide ongoing information to members of the Kiskatinaw Pipeline Landowners Association, and interested landowners and residents, regarding Westcoast’s programs to address issues associated with hydrogen sulphide (H(2)S). Westcoast committed to a Continuing Education Program to provide public awareness and education for landowners, residents and businesses that could be affected by a release from the South Peace Pipeline.
Along with the Reasons for Decision approving the project, the NEB also released the Environmental Screening Report (ESR) for the South Peace Pipeline Project, as required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEA Act).
After a draft ESR was circulated for public comment on 25 September 2008, the final ESR concluded that with the implementation of Westcoast’s environmental protection procedures and mitigation measures, and the NEB’s recommendations, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts.
The NEB issued Hearing Order GH-3-2008 on March 12, 2008 and held a public hearing in Dawson Creek, B.C. on August 26, 2008.