Union Gas plans new pipeline near Oil Springs

Union Gas' Dawn facility at night

Union Gas wants to build a new natural gas pipeline from its Dawn site to just outside of Oil Springs.

It’s part of a $1 to $2 billion investment by the company as it gears up for higher demand.

Andrea Stass says the company is proposing about 16 kilometers of 48 inch of pipeline to a pumping station in Enniskillen. “We don’t have the route identified but we know in general end point and beginning point,” says Stass.

The company already has four pipelines which go through the area and Stass says they may use the same corridor but they want to talk to landowners and the public before making a final decision. “We want to make sure we’re choosing the most environmentally acceptable route,” says Stass.

The move comes as the demand for natural gas and the availability of it increases.  “There is an increase in need for transporting gas along that system,” says Stass. “There has been a change in the way natural gas is coming to Ontario. Historically most of gas from Alberta that’s where big sources of gas are.” That natural gas traveled 3,000 km through the Trans Canada System.

With the advent of shale gas production through fracking, natural gas is available from Pennsylvania, just 300 km away.

“Because of that, there is an increased interest in accessing those supplies.”

Stass says that makes the Dawn Facility and Union Gas’ network through southern Ontario “the 401 for natural gas.”

“It has been a fundamental shift in where gas is being supplied from and the technology to access it. For us in Ontario, we have close access to a very large supply…more gas is traveling along that route so we’re making sure our system can reliably carry that type of gas.”

Stass says the pipeline in Lambton County is part of a $1 to $2 billion investment Union Gas is making in infrastructure in the next three years The company will also be adding four additional compressors, including one in Dawn and one in Middlesex Centre to ensure the movement of the gas to the Toronto area.

Stass says the company is in the initial stages of the environmental study of the pipeline in Lambton. She expects there will be public information sessions in April and hopes the environmental study would be complete and filed to the Ontario Energy Board by the end of the year.

If all goes according to plan and the OEB approves, Union Gas could begin construction in 2017.