Hearings set for North Montney Mainline

Pipeline News North | January 3 2018

The National Energy Board has set out the schedule for a public hearing on NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.’s application for a variance to the earlier-approved North Montney Mainline. 

Part A of the oral portion of the hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 22 in Calgary and continue until 6:30 p.m. Jan. 26. For all subsequent hearing days, the board plans to sit from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in order to accommodate the estimated duration of cross-examination submitted by parties. While the NEB panel plans to sit over the course of five days, it cautioned that more or less time is needed and sitting times may be modified.

The board will convene Part B of the oral portion of the hearing at 9 a.m. in Dawson Creek to hear oral traditional evidence from First Nations. Each First Nation will have three hours to present to the panel which will sit into the evening. For all subsequent hearing days the board plans to sit from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Final argument will begin following the conclusion of oral cross-examination. It will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 1 in Dawson Creek and finish Feb. 6 in Calgary. Written final argument, from parties who wish to provide it, will be due at noon Feb. 7. NGTL is granted written reply argument, which is due by noon, Feb. 14.

If approved by the board, the application would enable TransCanada Corporation to begin construction of the already-approved pipeline, removing the requirement it provide formal notice to the board that Progress Energy Canada Ltd. was proceeding with the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, which has since been cancelled.

The hearing has attracted considerable interest from Northeast B.C. producers that would gain access to the TransCanada system for gas exports throughout North America, operators concerned about the impact of the additional gas on downstream capacity, First Nations concerned about the environmental impact of the project and competitor Enbridge Inc. who objects to the proposed rolled-in tolls for a four-year transition period on the grounds of cross-subsidization.

The NEB is to issue its decision within 12 weeks of the close of the hearing. However, in its application submitted in March 2017, NGTL said it must begin construction by February 2018 in order to meet the requested in-service timing for its facilities starting April 1, 2019.

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