Squeezing Value
from Canadian Shale Gas

By David Appleyard

Fundamental changes to the global gas market are prompting a major expansion of gas transmission projects and associated infrastructure such as compressor stations. Demands for reliability make aeroderivative gas turbines a desirable choice for such mechanical drive applications.

Figure 1. TransCanada’s Maple gas compressor station. In February the company said it would move ahead with a C$2.4 billion project to expand the country’s natural gas transmission system.

News that Siemens is to supply compressor trains for a gas pipeline expansion project in Canada is further evidence of the dramatic shift in the global energy system that has been prompted by the emergence of shale gas. As a result of that transition, global gas pipeline expansion projects are booming.


Gas transmission capacity


In February this year TransCanada revealed that it will move ahead with a C$2.4 billion (US$1.87 billion) project to expand the country’s natural gas transmission system operated by its wholly owned subsidiary Nova Gas Transmission Ltd (NGTL). The plan is to connect additional supply and expand export capacity by 1 billion ft3/day (bcf/d) at the interconnection between the NGTL system and its Canadian Mainline.


The move follows a tender for existing and export capacity at the Empress/ McNeill Export Delivery Point that was oversubscribed. As a result shippers have executed binding agreements for 1.0 Bcf/d of expansion capacity that will commence in November 2020 and April 2021.


Commenting on the expansion, Russ Girling, TransCanada’s President and Chief Executive Officer, noted: “The successful open season shows strong industry support to significantly expand transmission capacity out of the basin and improve market connectivity for Canadian natural gas production.” NGTL also executed contracts for additional firm receipt service totalling 620 mcf/d of natural gas beginning in April 2021. The contracts will connect new supply in the Montney, Deep Basin and Duvernay shale gas production regions to the NGTL System and provide shippers access to various local and export markets.


Girling also said in a statement: “This program will provide much-needed transportation solutions for Western Canadian natural gas producers… to connect growing basin supply to downstream markets throughout North America.”


The expansion program will include some 375 km of large diameter pipeline, compression facilities, meter stations and other associated infrastructure.

Figure 2. Siemens aeroderivative SGT-A35 gas turbine. The engine is based on the industrial RB211 developed by Rolls-Royce.


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