On June 12, TransCanada announced plans to start building the Prince Rupert Transmission Line, a natural gas pipeline in 2015. This news comes on the heels of the approval of a second pipeline, the North Montney Mainline, which will connect to natural gas fields on British Columbia's Pacific Coast. The North Montney pipeline will cost $1.38 billion and was subjected to 45 conditions upon its approval, including environmental impact and aboriginal consultation.
Both lines cross the land of the 19 First Nations, the term for the aboriginal peoples in Canada. Since the pipelines will be on their territory, TransCanada had to gain their trust by taking aboriginal opinion into consideration. Many nations got involved so they could directly understand what the effects of the pipeline were. They were curious what the pipeline would mean for their land and overall environment.
The Lake Babine nation's territory straddles 20 percent of the Prince Rupert pipeline. The nation's chief, Wilf Adam got involved early on.
"We studied it, we talked with our experts, and the conclusion we came up with is that if we sit on the side, they will build a pipeline and we will have no involvement in it," he said. "We needed to be part of it so that we put in the safeguard for the environment and for where the pipeline should go and where it shouldn't go."
Canadian LNG project would be first of its kind
Following the approval from the 19 First Nations whose territory was directly affected, the State-owned Malaysian energy company, Petronas gave the construction a conditional go-ahead on the assumption that the Prince Rupert Transmission Line and the North Montney pipeline will connect.
Together, these lines would serve the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, an $11 billion liquefied natural gas export station. The interconnected pipeline is crucial to Petronas's plan to export natural gas from Canada to clients in Asia. TransCanada, which has had trouble recently garnering support and interest in their crude oil pipeline ideas, will benefit largely from this partnership with Petronas. TransCanada already has deals in place to build around $10.6 billion in natural gas pipelines across the West Coast of Canada for export purposes.
Although construction on the Prince Rupert line is slated to begin sometime in 2015, TransCanada believes the pipeline will go into service in 2019.