PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Progress Energy has awarded a $5-billion natural gas infrastructure project across northern British Columbia to TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP), the Calgary-based pipeline company.
TransCanada will design, build, own and operate the proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project for Progress. It will also extend an existing transmission line to connect with the Prince Rupert line to serve Progress and other gas suppliers.
The Prince Rupert transmission line will carry gas from the North Montney region in northeastern British Columbia to a proposed export facility near Prince Rupert, B.C.
The contract award to TransCanada is part of plans for Progress to export liquefied natural gas from the port to markets in energy-hungry Asian markets.
Progress was recently acquired by Malaysia’s state-owned energy company in a controversial $6-billion deal that was finally approved by Ottawa in December.
With backing from Petronas, the Prince Rupert LNG terminal will be 60 per cent larger than it would have been if the Progress takeover had been blocked.
TransCanada is one of North America’s largest pipeline companies.
Its efforts to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Alberta and refineries in the southern United States have gained widespread attention as politicians, environmentalists, local groups debate the project on both sides of the border.
But the company also has a long history of operating natural gas lines in Canada and the United States, a point that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling emphasized in Wednesday’s announcement about its latest major project.
“TransCanada has an industry leading safety record that we are extremely proud of, and we look forward to involving the skilled workforce in B.C. and across Canada to help us develop an important new component of B.C.’s growing natural gas infrastructure,” Girling said..
“Together with our previously announced Coastal GasLink Pipeline project, this is the second major natural gas pipeline proposed to Canada’s West Coast for TransCanada — demonstrating the confidence that LNG sponsors continue to place in our ability to design, build and safely operate pipeline systems.”
In addition, TransCanada proposes to extend its existing Nova gas transmission system in northeast B.C. to connect both to the Prince Rupert transmission project and to additional gas supply in the North Montney formation.
The company said the extensions to the Nova system will cost an estimated $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
Girling was expected to discuss the project during a media briefing at an industry forum later on Wednesday at the Prince George Civic Centre. The briefing was scheduled for 12 p.m. local time (3 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. Mountain).