CER recommends approval for NGTL 2021 System Expansion Project

Regulator says project is in Canadian public interest

News Release
For Immediate Release

February 19, 2020 – Canada Energy Regulator

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) is recommending that Federal cabinet approve NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.’s (NGTL) 2021 System Expansion Project. The project includes approximately 344 km of natural gas pipeline in eight loops and three compressor station unit additions. The project would start near Grande Prairie, AB and end just north of Calgary on land that is mostly adjacent to existing right of ways and facilities.

During its review of the project, the Commission heard from more than 50 participants including Indigenous peoples, industry, and both federal and provincial departments. The Commission found there were considerable benefits associated with the project including:

  • increased market access for Canadian natural gas;
  • capacity building for local people and Indigenous communities and businesses; and,
  • the creation of jobs across the country.

The Commission also noted there were potential burdens associated with the project. In particular, adverse effects likely to be caused to the Little Smoky Caribou Range and further changes potentially affecting the abilities of Indigenous peoples to use and access Crown lands.

In its Recommendation Report, the Commission said that: “The benefits and burdens of any project are never distributed evenly across the country. In light of these circumstances, reasonable people can and will disagree on what the best balance and outcome is for Canadians.”

After considering the project’s benefits and burdens, the Commission concluded that on balance, the project is in the public interest. Furthermore, by implementing NGTL’s environmental protection procedures, commitments, mitigation measures and the Commission’s 34 recommended conditions, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

The Commission also heard concerns which were beyond its mandate to address. As a result, the Commission developed six recommendations in relation to those concerns for the consideration and action by the Federal cabinet and/or other government bodies. These recommendations have been included in the Commission’s Recommendation Report to Federal cabinet.

If Federal cabinet approves this project, the Commission will monitor and enforce compliance with all conditions using audits, inspections and other compliance and enforcement tools.

Quick Facts

  • Nearly 75 per cent (255 km) of the project would be located on provincial Crown land.
  • In its application, NGTL said it expects to begin operating the project by April 2021 at an estimated cost of $2.3 billion.
  • In early 2019, the NEB hosted a conference with hearing participants to discuss meaningful participation of Indigenous Intervenors in the hearing process. The NEB listened to the feedback provided and changed parts of its hearing process.
  • As this application was filed in 2018, it was considered by the Commission of the CER under the National Energy Board Act.

Associated Links

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) works to keep energy moving safely across the country. We review energy development projects and share energy information, all while enforcing some of the strictest safety and environmental standards in the world. To find out how the CER is working for you visit us online or connect on social media.


Sarah Kiley
Communications Officer

Canada Energy Regulator
Telephone (toll free): 1-800-899-1265
Facsimile: 403-299-3302
Facsimile (toll free): 1-877-288-8803

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