Enbridge planning $1B expansion of B.C. grid

Calgary-based pipeline giant Enbridge announced plans last week for a $1 billion expansion of its British Columbia (B.C.) natural gas pipeline system, Kallanish Energy learns.

Enbridge president and CEO Al Monaco said on an earnings call the company has launched an open season, seeking commitments from natural gas producers to ship more gas from the Montney play in Alberta and B.C. to the Vancouver area, on a system it acquired as part of its $37 billion deal to buy Spectra Energy in February.

Monaco said surging natural gas production from the Montney has surprised and impressed his company, which wants to move more of the commodity.

“That’s probably something that’s going to provide more opportunities than we initially thought,” Monaco said.

The project would add compressor stations to an existing gas pipeline boosting its capacity by 190 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) and delivering the extra gas by the end of 2020.

Solomon Associates director of gas services Cameron Gingrich told the Financial Post newspaper the Enbridge proposal “will help alleviate some of the congestion” that gas producers face in north-eastern B.C., where production volumes have increased.

In recent months, several Calgary-based pipeline companies have made pitches to move more gas from Western Canada in all directions. TransCanada held an open season to send more gas eastward to Ontario and Alliance Pipeline, partly owned by Enbridge, is looking to expand capacity on its southeast-bound line to Chicago.

Gingrich said producers “need more options for getting that gas to market” and Enbridge’s west-bound proposal would provide another option.