New BC gas plant obtains NEB approval

Warren R. True
Chief Technology Editor-LNG/Gas Processing

HOUSTON, Apr. 6 -- Canada’s National Energy Board last week approved a new gas plant to serve increased shale gas production from the Horn River basin in British Columbia.

Spectra Energy Corp.’s BC Field Services subsidiary will build the 250-MMcfd Fort Nelson North gas processing plant on about 200 acres 75 km northeast of Fort Nelson, BC.

The new plant will expand the company’s processing services to basin producers, adding to capacity at the older 1-bcfd Fort Nelson gas plant, which OGJ gas processing data show has been operating at less than 500 MMcfd. The new plant is north and west of the existing plant.

A company spokesperson said gas to the new plant will be very dry. A single train at the plant will separate carbon dioxide and dehydrate and sweeten the inlet stream. Residue gas, she said, will then flow by pipeline to an interconnection with the existing Fort Nelson main line taking gas to eastern and southern markets.

Project context
A year ago, Spectra Energy announced it had received firm commitments of 760 MMcfd from seven producers operating in the Horn River basin for gathering and processing capacity. Those commitments have since been turned into firm contracts.

They are in support of Spectra’s activities to expand gathering and processing in the Fort Nelson area to accommodate as much as 830 MMcfd of incremental gas from Horn River producers.

Spectra Energy President Greg Ebel said last year the company’s plan involved staged expansions of existing Fort Nelson area infrastructure.

The expansion program began last year and will run into 2012. It includes reactivating 500 MMcfd of existing capacity at the Fort Nelson gas plant, looping and reconfiguration of area gathering and compression, and construction of the Fort Nelson North plant at Spectra Energy’s existing Cabin Lake compressor station—the subject of the NEB’s recent ruling.

The existing Fort Nelson plant is the largest sour-gas processing plant in North America, says Spectra, and the only one processing Horn River gas.

On completion in 2012, said the Spectra Energy spokesperson, the company will have more than 1.2 bcfd of raw gas processing capacity and associated gathering pipelines in the area, including the 250 MMcfd new Fort Nelson North plant.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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