Coastal GasLink completes first sections of major Canadian natural gas pipeline

Exciting start to 2022 for project’s relationship with Indigenous communities

By Deborah Jaremko
Photo courtesy Coastal GasLink

Canada’s first pipeline to deliver low emission natural gas to growing global markets is now two major steps closer to the finish. 

The first two sections of the Coastal GasLink pipeline are now complete, securing the first threads of the critical link between natural gas production in northeast B.C. and the LNG Canada export terminal at Kitimat.  

Officially completing about 185 kilometers of the 670-kilometer route lays “a solid foundation” as construction advances toward completion in 2023, says project vice-president Mel Johnson. 

“It has been an exciting start to the 2022 construction season,” he says.  

It’s been an exciting start to 2022 for the whole project, especially in its relationship with Indigenous communities.  

In March, Coastal GasLink reached an agreement to sell a 10 per cent ownership stake to 16 Indigenous communities along the pipeline route, once it is up and running.  

The deal builds on project benefit agreements with all 20 elected First Nations governments along the route and over $1 billion of spending with Indigenous-owned businesses, Coastal GasLink says.   

The pipeline will provide the first opportunity for Canada to export liquified natural gas (LNG) to Asia, helping reduce global emissions by displacing coal-fired electricity.   

Globally, switching from coal to natural gas power generally reduces emissions by about half, according to the International Energy Agency. Natural gas from Canada can deliver an even bigger decrease.  

The LNG Canada project is expected to have the lowest emissions intensity of any LNG plant on earth, at 0.15 per cent CO2 emissions per tonne of LNG compared to the global average of 0.35 per cent per tonne, according to a report by Oxford Energy Institute. 

World LNG demand is expected to nearly double to over 700 million tonnes in 2040 compared to 380 million tonnes in 2021, according to Shell’s latest outlook. 

Coastal GasLink is approximately 63 per cent complete, with 3,772 workers across the route as of the end of March, the project reports. Overall, more than 275 kilometers of pipeline has been installed across all eight sections. 

About Coastal GasLink Section 1 

The now-completed Section 1 runs 92 kilometers from west of Dawson Creek, B.C. to near Chetwynd.  

Prime contractor Surerus Murphy Joint Venture led 5,100 welds, two-directional drills each over 1,000 meters in length, and a direct pipe install under the Burnt River. 

About Coastal GasLink Section 4 

In Section 4, prime contractor SA Energy Group led installation of 93 kilometers of pipeline from north of Prince George to the northwest of Vanderhoof.   

This involved 4,500 welds, two-directional pipe installs, 26 water crossings, and over 1.5 kilometers of sheet piling. 

Coastal GasLink says that both sections involved hundreds of workers and companies, many of them from neighboring local and Indigenous communities. 

Crews will now focus on testing to ensure the pipeline is ready for safe operations and reclamation to return the area to its natural state, the project says. 

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