Coastal GasLink completion key to unlocking Canadian natural gas for the world

Construction underway on the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will transport natural gas from northeast BC to the LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat. Photograph courtesy of Coastal GasLink

Canada’s natural gas industry has made a major step forward in efforts to export much needed supply to energy-hungry markets in Asia.

The key is the completion of the Coastal GasLink pipeline at the end of 2023.

The project, nearly 12 years in the making, is Canada’s only natural gas export pipeline to the west coast.

It will deliver supply to the port of Kitimat, about 1,400 kilometres northwest of Vancouver. There it will be supercooled and turned into the lowest carbon liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world and shipped across to global customers from the export facility. That facility is expected to begin operations next year.

It is estimated that the two projects could reduce between 60 to 90 million tonnes of global emissions per year by replacing coal-fired power in Asia

“Coastal GasLink reached mechanical completion in early November 2023 ahead of schedule and is ready to deliver natural gas to LNG Canada’s facility, which will depend on their own commissioning process,” said Natasha Westover, manager of external relations for TC Energy

“Which means, sustainably produced LNG could be shipped to global markets by 2025, via this world-class, safety-leading pipeline.”

The project continues momentum for economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities, with Coastal GasLink set to become one of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects with Indigenous ownership.

Once the pipeline is in service, 17 of the twenty First Nations along the pipeline route have signed an agreement for the option to buy a 10 per cent stake.

“The opportunity was made available to all 20 Indigenous communities holding existing agreements with Coastal GasLink and is an important step on the path to true partnership through equity ownership in the project,” Westover said.

The ownership stakes are in addition to numerous agreements and contracts reached with Indigenous communities along Coastal GasLink’s path. In all, the project spent $1.8 billion with Indigenous and local businesses.

According to TC Energy, the project created more than 25,700 full-time equivalent jobs and took 55 million hours to complete. The project generated $3.2 billion to B.C.’s GDP, some $331 million in tax revenue, and $3.95 billion in spending with B.C. businesses and suppliers.

As well, during construction, Coastal GasLink and TC Energy spent over $13 million in community investments and sponsorships to support local and Indigenous community initiatives.

Once operating, it is estimated that over $26 million in annual tax revenue will be generated for communities along the pipeline’s path. Even with construction coming to an end, local communities will continue to see economic spinoffs. More than $42 million is expected to be generated each year through local economic activity.

“These accomplishments mark the end of the project’s five-year construction phase, during which time our workers, contractors, Indigenous and local communities collaborated to complete Canada’s first pipeline to the west coast in 70 years,” Westover said.

Work will now continue on environmental reclamation and preparing communities and workers for the start of operations.

“Coastal GasLink looks forward to continuing to be a part of the local community as we prepare for safe operations for decades to come,” Westover said.

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