Coastal GasLink’s Golden Weld

Johnny Wentzel
Work on Coastal GasLink
Courtesy of Coastal GasLink

Like a golden spike driven to mark the completion of a transcontinental railway, a symbolic golden weld might be the best way to signify the conclusion of a pipeline project more than 10 years in the making.

What happened: On Monday, TC Energy announced it had completed the build of its Coastal GasLink pipeline after more than a decade of planning, construction, and navigating both literal and figurative mountains.

  • The 670-kilometer British Columbian route runs from Dawson Creek – a BC town, not to be confused with any teen dramas that used to come on after Buffy – and terminates on the Pacific Coast in Kitimat.

Although the pipeline is physically complete, there are still a number of tests, checks, and some remediation to be finished up in the coming months before the pipeline is (Darth Sidious voice) fully operational.

Next stop: LNG Canada

The completed pipeline terminates at the pending LNG Canada export terminal in Kitimat, which is reportedly 85 percent complete and expected to be shipping product to Asian markets by mid-decade.

No small feat: The $40 billion terminal, backed by Shell, PETRONAS, PetroChina, Mitsubishi, and others is the largest private investment ever in Canada. The facility will process and ship 14 million tonnes per year of LNG, and could double in the future.

  • It’s a big deal for Canada’s natural gas sector, which has been largely limited to exporting product to the US rather than exporting directly to more lucrative global markets.

Zoom out: The completion of the CGL pipeline – along with the pending conclusion to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project – signifies that Canada’s energy industry is this close to exporting its products internationally.

Analysts expect that the GasLink pipeline coupled with an operational LNG Canada facility will be a game-changer in the energy landscape, and will put Canada on the map as a reliable global supplier of natural gas.