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TC Energy pipeline update with Crowsnest Pass council

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Jul 12, 2023

TC Energy spoke with member of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass council about their newest pipeline in the area.

TC Energy spoke with member of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass council about the pipeline going through the area on July 4. 

TC Energy is a pipeline operator with infrastructure across North America, with an extensive footprint in Canada, the US and Mexico. Their footprint covers 96,000 kilometres of pipe across the three countries.

“A lot of the gas that we move through this area is going to be making its way down to the Idaho border and into the California market and parts of Arizona through extended pipeline networks with our shipping partners,” said Cole Thomson, Manager of Community Relations for TC Energy.

They are one of the largest movers of oil from Canada, with about a fifth of Canada’s crude oil moving between Alberta and U.S. markets via the Keystone mainline. TC Energy is also one of the largest private power producers in Canada according to Thomson. 

With construction happening in the municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Thomson said they are very excited to be here and thanked the Community for the hospitality and welcome they have received while starting the project.

“[NGTL West Path Delivery 2023] is an investment in 48-inch natural gas line that does help us serve U.S. markets and expands our footprint in Alberta,” explained Thomson.

TC Energy applied for three separate sections of pipeline that include the section going through the Pass called the Lundbreck Section. The Lundbreck section will be seven kilometres, running alongside an existing pipeline. This additional pipe will help the company reduce a bottleneck they claim.

“We applied for all three of the pipeline sections at the same time as part of a bundled application and proceeded with construction on all three at roughly the same time,” said Thomson.

For this pipeline, they applied with the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), which Thomson said makes this unique in terms of pipeline operation.

“A lot of the pipelines that folks are familiar with, at least in Alberta, are Alberta Energy Regulator overseen, so the Canada Energy Regulator is involved on the NGTL system because we extend beyond borders and so there’s a cross-border trade component that makes this a federally regulated entity,” said Thomson.

A number of applications were made in advance of successfully receiving approval for this project, leading to what Thomson called a “very thorough” plan for construction.

“[The applications] included a number of conditions and compliance commitments that we have pulled through a number of our authorizations to protect fisheries and water bodies, habitat for wildlife and species of risk, as well as the protection of forests and wildlands. A lot of landowner agreements went into these three pipeline sections to ensure that they could successfully be constructed,” added Thomson.

They are currently monitoring and conducting migratory bird nest sweeps and buffering areas where they find active nests. They are also conducting amphibian monitoring to relocate any amphibians found within the pipeline workspace.

“As mentioned, we kind of started the clearing activities in February, but really hit the road last month and we’ll continue in construction until about the November time frame, when we hope to be completed with mainline installation of pipeline and that pipeline goes into service,” said Thomson.

After the presentation, Mayor Blair Painter asked Thomson about a resident’s concern regarding the crossing of the pipeline.

“What we prefer is the crossing locations be designated and we would work with landowners, especially if it is on their land, to ensure that they’re aware of where they can safely cross. One thing that is important to know, especially with pipelines is that they are varied, but we want to maintain the structural integrity of them and so we try and dissuade people from crossing an uncontrolled intersection to ensure that nothing happens to that pipeline below, especially because that coverage is incredibly important to maintain,” said Thomson.

Pawel Zmudzki, Project Manager at TC Energy, and Patrick Dutka, Construction Manager at TC Energy, were also there to answer questions for council on more specific topics.

Councillor Lisa Sygutek asked about the width of the pipeline area and how much wider it was than the proposed area. Dutka explained that much of the area will be a temporary workspace to allow the removal of dirt, the placement of pipe and the movement of machinery. 

“There could be pockets where it is for material storage,” added Dutka.

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