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Moving natural gas through the Peace River wilderness

With a population of only about 58,000 people living on 46,000 square miles, the Peace River Regional District is an important source of petroleum and natural gas.

Building this pipeline will ensure continued economic opportunity for the province of B.C. and its northern communities.

TransCanada

North Montney Mainline

North Montney Mainline

Opportunity

The Peace River has its source in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia. From there it flows into the Slave River, which empties into the Mackenzie — the 12th longest river in the world. The Peace River takes its name from a 1781 treaty that ended hostilities between two of the indigenous peoples.

With a population of only about 58,000 people living on 46,000 square miles, the Peace River Regional District in northeast British Columbia is the biggest of the province’s 27 regional districts. The district is an important source of petroleum and natural gas.

TransCanada, which delivers 20% of the natural gas consumed in North America, plans to construct the North Montney Mainline as a 300-kilometer (186-mile) pipeline of 42 to 48 inches (1.1 to 1.2 meters) in diameter. Starting in the north, the Kahta section of the North Montney Mainline would join the Aitken Creek section, then connect with the existing Groundbirch Mainline.

The importance of safety and environmental protection on the project was underlined by the presence of Aboriginal communities and numerous provincial parks and wildlife reserves.

Solution

In 2013, TransCanada commissioned Mott MacDonald to complete an evaluation of the feasibility of using trenchless technology for a crossing of the Peace River. The crossing would extend more than a mile: 6,100 feet or 1,860 meters.

Mott MacDonald compiled project histories from several large horizontal directional drill (HDD), microtunnel, direct pipe, and tunnel contractors to assess and evaluate the most beneficial alternatives for challenging trenchless crossings.

The evaluation focused on identifying the known geotechnical hazards and construction risks for the proposed crossing location, comparing these risks to the various trenchless installation methods, and preparing conceptual cost estimates for the trenchless methods deemed feasible for construction of the Peace River crossing.

We captured the identified risks on a risk register and developed preliminary risk mitigation measures.

Outcome

Our depth in pipeline, geotechnical and trenchless engineering provided significant project execution and cost benefits to the project. As a result, we were retained to provide detailed engineering and design services for the entire pipeline project.

According to TransCanada, “B.C. has an abundance of natural gas resources, and new natural gas pipelines such as the proposed North Montney Mainline (Aitken Creek and Kahta sections) will provide the capacity needed to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to growing energy markets.

“Building this pipeline will ensure continued economic opportunity for the province of B.C. and its northern communities. The construction and operation of this Project creates jobs in multiple sectors and generates revenue, which helps to pay for public services like health care, education and infrastructure.”

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