There are currently five pipelines proposed to transport gas from Northeast BC to liquefaction facilities in the Kitimat and Prince Rupert areas*. Each pipeline ranges from 24-48 inches in diameter with capacities ranging from 0.6-5.0 billion cubic feet per day. Compressor stations would be located along the route and each one would require approximately 15 acres of cleared land. Cumulatively, pipeline development represents a significant footprint across the land base.
Cumulative impacts of habitat destruction and fragmentation caused by access roads, right-of-ways and compressor station sites are concerns with the multitude of proposed pipelines transecting the region. In particular, grizzly bears are attracted to clear areas, making them more vulnerable to hunting and vehicle accidents. Caribou require large and continuous areas of undisturbed habitat and are also threatened by increased predation as a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.
Another consideration is what might happen in the future if this infrastructure is built. Local residents have raised concerns that the pipelines could be converted to transport oil or could open up access to midstream gas resources of the Nechako and Bowser Basins.
It is technically feasible for gas pipelines to be converted to oil by replacing the compressor stations with pumping stations. A current example is the conversion of TransCanada’s Energy East gas pipeline to an oil export pipeline. The TransCanada proposal includes converting a portion of its gas pipeline to oil and building 1,400 kilometres of new pipeline to reach Canada’s east coast.
*There are a total of 18 LNG export proposals for BC’s coast. Only five of the proposals include new pipelines at this time.