CALGARY — The National Energy Board is scheduling hearings over the next three months to consider a jurisdictional challenge of the approval of a pipeline needed to supply natural gas to the recently sanctioned $40-billion LNG Canada project.
The hearings are to determine only if approvals given by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline are sufficient — if not, the NEB says the proponent will have to make a formal NEB application and undergo another separate process to win federal approval.
The NEB actions are in response to a challenge by B.C. resident Mike Sawyer who argues that because TransCanada Corp. will operate the proposed pipeline and the connected Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. system together, they form a single pipeline which crosses the Alberta-B.C. boundary and therefore must be regulated by the federal government.
The NEB says on its website it will accept additional written evidence from the builder late this month, take written evidence from interveners in January and gather information requests and responses from parties in January and February before holding final oral arguments in March.
The 670-kilometre, 48-inch diameter natural gas pipeline would bring natural gas from prolific wells in northeastern B.C. to the proposed liquefied natural gas export facility near Kitimat on the West Coast.
LNG Canada announced in October its partners — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., Petronas, PetroChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — had made a final investment decision to proceed with the project after delaying it in 2016 due to poor global prices for LNG.
TransCanada’s contract to build the $6.2-billion pipeline was conditional on partner project approval.