Canadian National Energy Board approves NOVA's Groundbirch pipeline project

The National Energy Board (NEB) approved an application from NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) to construct and operate the Groundbirch Pipeline Project. 

Approximately 77 kilometers in length and 914 millimeters in outside diameter, the proposed pipeline is the first NGTL pipeline facility application submitted to the NEB for its consideration. Furthermore, this project would also be Canada's first federally regulated facility approved for the transportation of shale gas from Western Canada. 

The Groundbirch Pipeline Project is a proposed extension of the existing TransCanada Alberta System to connect sweet natural gas supply mainly from the Montney Formation located in northeast British Columbia (BC). The pipeline would extend from a new interconnection on the Gordondale Lateral near the downstream side of the existing Gordondale Meter Station on the Alberta System, approximately 11 kilometres east of Bay Tree, Alberta to a meter station in the Groundbirch area in northeast BC, approximately 37 kilometers northwest of Dawson Creek. 

The NEB's approval to proceed with this project includes nearly 30 conditions, all of which must be met before NGTL can be granted permission to open the pipeline. In addition to conditions specifically targeting pipeline integrity and the protection of the environment, there are also conditions related to the matter of public and aboriginal consultation. 

With respect to Aboriginal matters and landowner concerns, the Company is required to submit an update on consultation activities. 

More specifically, NGTL must consult with the Duncan's First Nation and the Horse Lake First Nation concerning the detailed route alignment and its potential impacts on the land's traditional use, and an account describing how the issues were addressed must be filed with the NEB. As well, NGTL also has to provide the Board with an update on the outcomes of its consultations with the South Peace Landowners Association. 

The NEB issued Hearing Order GH-1-2009 on 16 June 2009 and held a three-day public hearing in Dawson Creek, BC starting on 17 November 2009. 

The NEB is an independent federal agency that regulates several parts of Canada's energy industry. Its purpose is to promote safety and security, environmental protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian public interest, within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade.

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