Since the announcement of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Pipeline Project (PRGT) in 2013 dedicated teams have been working along with indigenous peoples, local governments, landowners, other land users and community residents to refine the pipeline route.
Through consultation and field studies, PRGT has continuously refined the route through feedback from all stakeholders. The current route reflects an ongoing commitment to minimizing disturbances to the environment, waterways and culturally sensitive areas.
In 2014, Prince Rupert Gas Transmission filed an application with the BC Environmental Assessment Office. The application included a detailed description of our proposed route which was selected based on environmental factors, stakeholder feedback and constructability.
In October 2014, after a period of public review, the BC Environmental Assessment Office accepted Prince Rupert Gas Transmission’s application with conditions, and issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate.
Construction of marine based pipeline
As part of the detailed description of the route submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment Office the approximate final 120 kilometers will be marine- based pipeline. The pipeline entry point would be in Nasoga Gulf and will deliver natural gas to the Pacific NorthWest LNG facility through a Meter Station located on southeast corner of Lelu Island which was specifically designed to avoid Flora Bank.
While the land based portion of the project will consist of one 48 inch diameter pipeline, the marine based portion will consist of two twin 36 inch diameter pipelines.
Minimizing potential effects on the marine environment has been a key consideration for the proposed route. Undersea construction methods will be designed to avoid sensitive areas for fish and other marine life wherever possible. Habitat surveys and mapping are being used to support this process.
Due to its weight, the pipe will naturally partially bury itself in softer sediments on the seabed; only a portion of the pipe may remain above the level of the sea bed. The completed pipeline would typically rest on the seabed, but some sections may be buried in a trench to avoid obstruction and to protect that section. The pipeline itself, and any rock used to protect or support the pipeline, may provide additional fish habitat.
Valuable fish habitat typically exists in shallow waters close to shore, however most of our marine pipeline route is in deeper water to a depth of approximately 600 metres. Where the pipeline is in shallow water, we want to ensure that the environment would not be adversely affected. We have invested significantly in marine geotechnical, engineering and environmental studies to assist us with locating the best route for the pipeline to minimize environmental disturbances. Important environmental features were avoided wherever possible, such as eel grass and kelp beds, glass sponge reefs, and concentrated humpback whale feeding areas. We are also working with Aboriginal communities to learn how they use the marine environment to minimize our effect.
Pipelines are the safest method to transport natural gas across long distances. An electric inspection device, known as a “smart PIG” will travel through PRGT, detecting the tiniest crack, flaw or sign of corrosion.