Fact or fiction? Let’s find out.
MYTH: Constructing a natural gas pipeline will lead to its future conversion to an oil pipeline, which is what you are doing with Energy East.
FACT: Coastal GasLink has no plans to convert the proposed pipeline to anything other than natural gas transportation service. Coastal GasLink will also be bound by contract to provide natural gas for a minimum of 25 years, with numerous options to renew this service. The LNG Canada facilities, to which the pipeline will deliver natural gas, have no need for oil; they and the upstream natural reserves represent a significant capital investment and are expected to operate for well in excess of 25 years. All of our studies, the design, and construction are planned for natural gas transportation; there are no plans to convert this line to any other use. In addition, any future change to the use of the pipeline is subject to regulatory approval, including full consultation with government, local communities and First Nations.
MYTH: Only a handful of jobs will be created from this project.
FACT: We anticipate that 2,000-2,500 short-term jobs will be created on our pipeline project, which will bring millions in economic benefits to local communities. In addition, approximately 16-35 permanent field positions for operations and maintenance will be maintained once the pipeline is operational. While long-term pipeline-related jobs will be small in relation to construction jobs, the long-term, ongoing economic benefits to local communities will be substantial, including investment in local communities through our community investment partnerships and our education and training plan.
MYTH: First Nations people are being left out of the consultation process.
FACT: We believe in beginning consultation with communities and stakeholders early in the project development process. We have built strong relationships with Indigenous groups, landowners, residents, municipal governments and businesses throughout the course of our project engagement. Through these relationships, we come to understand local challenges, issues and concerns and the potential ways in which we may address them
Since the announcement of the project in June 2012, Coastal GasLink has initiated engagement with 31 First Nations, two Tribal Councils and two Metis organizations, while focused consultation has taken place with 30 groups identified in the BC EAO Section 11 Order.
We’ve had over 15,000 interactions and engagements with First Nations communities about Coastal GasLink. To date, more than one-third of all the work completed on the project has been conducted by Indigenous people.
We have developed and distributed information materials, including notifications of permit applications, and have advanced agreements to outline relationship protocols and capacity funding, as well as Traditional Knowledge sharing and participation in project activities and planning.
Throughout the engagement process with First Nations, we have held discussions and met on various subjects which have included: the distribution and review of a draft ancillary site map outlining the proposed features such as access roads, compressor stations, campsites, etc.; contracting and employment opportunities; economic benefits; and routing of the proposed project corridor through each First Nation’s traditional territory. Our team members have attended community meetings to review the proposed project with community members.
Aboriginal people are already benefiting economically from our northern B.C. pipeline projects, participating in tens of thousands of hours of environmental field work as advisors, technicians and support employees.
First Nations have actively engaged in our meetings, and participation on both sides has been productive, respectful and positive.
MYTH: Compressor stations will be flaring gas into the air, and disrupt the community with bright lights and noise.
FACT: There are no routine gas emissions from compressor stations. Any venting at the station would only be done under controlled conditions for pipeline and station maintenance or as a result of a pipeline emergency. There are no flare stacks proposed for our compressor stations and little to no gas emissions. TransCanada is recognized as a leader in greenhouse gas emissions management, with particular emphasis on methane emissions management programs.
Noise levels are regulated and will be at or less than 40 decibels at all areas within 1.5 km of compressor stations. Noise levels will be routinely monitored to ensure they remain in compliance with the appropriate local regulations. We engineer the stations to minimize the noise impact to the surrounding areas, including silencers and noise attenuation on the buildings. With this in mind, we contain our turbo compressors within acoustic enclosures inside our compressor buildings. The compressor buildings themselves are also purposely built to further attenuate noise emanations. We aim to operate even more quietly by ensuring our noise levels are no more than 45 decibels at our station fence line. This is equivalent to the sound of a refrigerator humming or a running stream, and is consistent with normal background noise in the area. As a point of comparison, normal conversation at one metre is 60 decibels.
Our compressor stations are unmanned and facility lights are shut off at night (except for safety lights over doorways) unless there are maintenance activities being conducted.
MYTH: The risk of an explosion that will devastate our communities is too great to warrant construction.
FACT: Pipelines are the safest method of transporting the volumes of natural gas that move throughout North America every day. In the over 65 years TransCanada has operated pipelines, there have been no injuries to members of the public as a result of the operation of our assets. TransCanada has spent an average of $900 million per year over the last three years on pipeline integrity and preventative maintenance programs.
Our gas control centres provide 24/7 monitoring of TransCanada’s pipeline systems. From these centres we can remotely control facilities and gather real-time data such as system pressures, flows, alarms and temperatures. The system also provides information on abnormal operating conditions (valves out of position, system surge, etc.) In this way, we are able to ensure facilities are operating properly. If an incident were to occur, TransCanada can act quickly to isolate and remove the affected pipe from service.
We also inspect our pipeline routes from low-flying aircraft and ground patrols. We look for signs of gas leaks, unauthorized construction or other soil disturbances on the pipeline right-of-way that could indicate a potential problem. We use high-quality steel and best construction practices when building pipelines. All pipe is tested well above normal operating pressure before it is put into operation. Our pipelines are cathodically protected, which means a low-voltage electric current is induced in the vicinity of the pipeline to inhibit external corrosion.
Cleaning and inspection tools called “smart PIGs” are used to gather data for the assessment of pipeline integrity. The information gathered helps shape our pipeline maintenance programs. If anomalies are detected, the pipeline segment in question is excavated and visually inspected. It is either repaired on the spot or replaced.
MYTH: The B.C. government wants this pipeline no matter the environmental cost.
FACT: Pipelines are required to undergo exhaustive environmental studies to ensure they meet stringent guidelines. Our project is being pursued under two British Columbia statutes, the Oil and Gas Activities Act, and the Environmental Assessment Act. Additional authorizations will be required to start construction activities, which will be pursued in a timely manner to meet the construction schedule. Other federal legislation that may be included in the regulatory framework for this project includes the Migratory Birds Convention Act, Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Protection Act, Species at Risk Act, and others.
MYTH: Pipelines are involved in fracking, which has a negative effect on our environment.
FACT: Coastal GasLink will not be producing the natural gas – our role is to ensure the safe transportation of natural gas once it is produced.
Natural gas is used heat our homes, schools, hospitals and businesses. It is also used to make crop fertilizer, fabrics, plastics and items we use every day.