Fortis Plans a $350 Million Pipeline for Woodfibre LNG


The map shows the pipeline route from Port Coquitlam to Woodfibre LNG.

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Sept 13, 2014

FortisBC plans to construct a new natural gas pipeline that will course its way from Coquitlam through Squamish to the LNG site. The construction will start in 2016 and the project is expected to $350 million. .

From Coquitlam, the new pipeline will snake its way from Coquitlam to Squamish, passing along Robin Drive to a proposed new compressor station in the business park, and then through the estuary to the Woodfibre LNG site.

In an interview with the Reporter, FortisBC’s Trevor Bodreau and Carol Greaves said the new pipeline will stay in the existing right of way as much as possible.


Besides a few exceptions, it will follow the 600-kms transmission pipeline that was put in place in the 90s to serve Squamish, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, and Powell River.

Greaves said the old pipeline doesn’t have the capacity to serve Woodfibre LNG as the existing pipeline delivers only 150 million cubic feet a day. The new pipe is expected to deliver 228 million cubic feet of gas every day to Woodfibre LNG.

To push the gas to its destination, Fortis plans to add a compressor station in Squamish and upgrade another in Coquitlam. Compressor stations increase the pressure and flow of the natural gas; the main component is a centrifugal type compressor that is motor driven.

A new compressor station can take up to five acres of land, although a Squamish location for the compressor station hasn’t been decided yet. Electrically driven, the Squamish compressor station design would involve installing 9,700 horsepower, while the one in Coquitlam will add 30,000 horsepower to pump gas.


FortisBC plans to use horizontal directional drilling technology (HDD) to install a segment of the pipeline. HDD installs by drilling underneath the earth, which the company claims will minimize any impacts to the surface.

The plans aren’t final yet, but Fortis plans to put a compressor station on an empty piece of land in the business park on the intersection of Industrial and Queens Way. Greaves said Fortis (a private distribution company) looked at options in the Valleycliffe area but couldn’t find a suitable location for the compressor station.

Estuary is one area where Fortis deviates from its existing right of way because of First Nation considerations. One kilometre of new pipe will be installed in the estuary through horizontal directional drilling, drilling 50 to 70 metres under the surface.

“We have an environment firm doing studies on aquatics, plants and wildlife, bird nesting and frog habitat and archaeological studies,” she said.

FortisBC also plans to use horizontal directional drilling technology (HDD) to install a segment of the pipeline through the Estuary. HDD installs by drilling underneath the earth, which would minimize any impacts to the surface.

The existing pipeline is 10 inches, but the new pipe would be 24 inches thick to allow for more gas to flow. Fortis spokesperson Trevor Bodreau said the company had operated the pipeline without incident for the last 24 years in the region.

“We have a commitment to safety,” he said.

The company has a central control and monitoring station in Surrey from which the gas supply can be switched off at the push of a button. The local compressor station will also be manned 24/7 a day, he said. Bodreau said Fortis regularly inspects its pipeline sending an automated ping that ‘read’ the inside of the pipe, and detects leaks and ruptures. The pipes are seismically stable and are regularly upgraded as needed.

Wall diameters are also thicker when the pipe is in densely populated areas.

Fortis is also establishing a baseline for noise level for the new compressor facility, but the ambient noise is 40 decibels, Greaves said. Using electric power to run the compressor station and an adequate tree buffer will help with noise, she added.

Greaves said there will be a combined tax benefit to SLRD and Squamish of $1.3 million. Fortis estimates the project will generate 500 to 650 person years of work during construction and eight new full-time jobs. Greaves also said there is a potential for the gas rates to drop as more gas flows in the system with big industrial user like Woodfibre LNG.

“Big industrial user will help stabilize or even lower the rates,” she said.

The proposed project is preparing for an environmental assessment process.


  1. Paul Watt says:

    With at least $50 million in BC Hydro subsidies (paid for with our 28% consumer power cost increases that are happening over the next couple years) going to this LNG plant every year, how could any reasonable person accept this joke of a proposal. Sure, we’ll get a small amount of municipal tax, and a few local jobs, but that equals maybe 8 million in benefits as a fantastically optimistic total while we give them 50 million every year. Woodfibre has said themselves that they will be consuming 140 MW! And they will be paying the large use industrial rate (around 5 cents per kWh) Power costs BC Hydro 9.1 cents per kWh to produce. We will subsidize Woodfibre LNG 4 cents for every kWh they consume with our residential Hydro bills. This is an undeniable fact. When you look at their incredible power consumption, that works out to a $50 million dollar subsidy every year, coming right off of our power bills. It’s insane. If that money was invested into any sort of green energy, it would produce thousands of jobs, not 100 jobs. And the tax benefit to the province would be immense instead of nothing.

    • Brad Hodge says:

      LNG is not getting a subsidy for hydro. The rate is under negotiation but my understanding is they will not be treated as typical industrial users, so this subsidy number is without merit. The rate should be announced soon.

    • Jon S. says:

      $2 million dollars is not a small amount by any means. It would represent over 8% of our municipal tax revenue!

      Your $50 million subsidy is calculated using accounting methods that Enron would envy. There is no subsidy, Woodfibre will pay market rates for power. They will pay as the same rates as other major power users, like Sea to Sky gondola. Unlike your ludicrous $50 million dollar figure, that is fact.

    • Ron says:

      Dear Paul, i just getting into the debate by accident. I like to be a sceptic on the issue of ‘green jobs’. Agreed we need to have green jobs, but the reality is that nobody would hire green jobs if you need technological expertise. Solar panel industry is in the slump, thanks to China, and the energy retention is poor as well as the technical problem hasn’t been solved. I wish it could so i could reduce my bill but reality is i rather have a few hundred jobs rather than 1,000 no jobs.

  2. Kerry Brown says:

    Statistically pipelines and pumping stations are safe. Statistically an accident will happen sometime, the odds are small but an accident will happen (Ask the people of Lac-Mégantic about statistics and safety). Given the possibility of a major disaster if there is an accident this should not be near any populated area. A much better spot for the pumping station would be near the Mamquam run of the river power station well away from populated areas.

    • Jon S. says:

      Lac Magentic would not have occurred had their been a pipeline. Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally way to transport any liquid.

      Not to mention that, for over 20 years, a high pressure pipeline has crossed our community with zero incidents. You people need to remember that fortis does not want this pipe, or any pipe, to explode as it is not in their best interest. That is just common sense (and cents too!)

  3. ted prior says:

    I say we get a new sheet of ice or some other benefit for the community .

    • Jon S. says:


      Let’s extort potential businesses, that will will attract investment to our community.

      How did this guy even get elected?

  4. Jean says:

    Thanks Paul
    Make sure you come to the Gong Show at the Senior centre today at 1 PM
    The wise guys advising us dummy’s on LNG.

  5. Jean says:

    Thanks Kerry,
    Lots of empty houses afterwards, cheep real estate in Squamish if not addressed as you said.

    • Jon S. says:

      That’s a myth. Last time I checked, Canexus chemicals in North Vancouver has had no impact on local real estate prices. This is considering that their plant produces somerthing far more deadly and is located in close proximity to residential homes – a far cry from 7 km’s away.

      You activists will say anything.

    • Ron says:

      Jean, a bit of scare-mongering going on here, isn’t it? what’s next.. claim of invasions by evil Asians? bit surprising about the undercurrent created. rather disappointing actually.

  6. Dave says:

    Ted: I am not sure where you actually stand on LNG…to the point of confusion, given many of your comments on Facebook. I am now calling you on this here. Do you favour the LNG venture. or not, and why? Because that is what the Fortis pipeline is for!

    • Jon S. says:

      The reality is he has bought the snake oil that the activists are selling, and is making ridiculous demands like this to appease them.

    • Ron says:

      We should stand on: development, balanced interests for the community, preservation of the environment, safety and future for our families (yes and making money or getting better work because of some investment to community, cant hurt either). Btw, does anybody know any LNG accidents? I looked at wikipedia. (see: They listed THREE ! 1944 (!), 1979 and 2004. Ok, convince me otherwise.

  7. Jean says:

    It is so nice that Fortis is paying for a pipeline (350 million dollars worth!) hoping to make a bit more money. This is if W-LNG should be allowed to proceed, against all adversity and overly-optimistic predictions that might not even materialize. Did anybody from Fortis ever read about the boom and bust of Thumbler Ridge? It is still fresh in my memory. Does anybody know how much we still are paying for that mistake?

    Some people just do not learn from mistakes. Shortsighted profit-taking should be weighed against the long-term negative effects of LNG. When the market collapses, the people of BC will have to bail them out. With a bit extra added to the product, LNG proponents might think they could survive– unless a Labour party is elected. People will say the Liberals, with their 100 billion dollar pie-in-the-sky forecast, and the dismal future return on their (our) investment, would make the NDP Fast Ferries look like a not so bad loss in comparison– it employed a lot of people, opposite of the federal-government-promised ship-building contracts for BC in the billions (!) with no visible impact so far. Maybe the company will have to experience like some did, that free enterprise does not mean much, if the cost of goods is no longer bearable, or the government at the time just likes to get even. Fortis might even revert back to government control, in case of a needed bailout.

    The goodwill by the public would be slightly shifting toward such a scenario, considering that for the big guys the rules are different than for the average citizen in need of gas to heat their house and cook their meals at reasonable cost. Why? Whereas Fortis generously dishes out 350 million for the Indonesian company at Woodfibre, the citizens of BC are asked to pay for an extension to their houses for necessary domestic gas, if not available at one time or a bit away from the main grid, to pay upfront (in cash) a Mafia price to the tune of $ 94,000 for a 2 inch plastic pipe 600 M extension from the nearest established point of gas availability.

    On the other hand, giving away to an outfit with the reputation of S.T. Sukanto Tanoto
    a gift of 350 million, as he is getting it free of charge. Many people are questioning: Is S.T. or any of his subsidiaries possible…even shareholders of Fortis?
    Statements like their spin doctor saying, because of the enormous quantity of gas passing through and under Squamish (at high risks, I might add) that the gas price for domestic gas might even be less, where we at then moment for domestic gas are paying about $4 per GJ, then when exporting LNG with the World Spot Price at present at approximately $11 per GJ, would any body think, Fortis would further reduce our 4$ Domestic Gas price, that we at the moment are paying, out of the goodness of there heart and keep our domestic price reduced in comparison to the world Spot price that they would be getting for LNG . It is more conceivable if Fortis could not export the LNG to an additional new market, that our Domestic Gas price might remain for years in the low figures and beneficial for the Canadian consumer and owner of the resources. Would Fortis please make this ludicrous statement as in this article alluded to official and in writing. Should W-LNG go ahead and Fortis could sell the same material by then– to the world not just BC– not as ‘natural gas’ but to be called ‘fracked methane, unnatural, non-renewable gas” to the world. I would love to see such a statesman signed and sworn by Fortis, and not just a spin doctor’s fantasy , expected that some people might think it is possible that domestic gas would be lower than what we are paying now, because Fortis would be exporting LNG at highest Spot price possible. How dumb do some people think the public is ?
    The article is not mentioning that despite numerous inquires to Fortis, that to this day, no concrete and trustworthy answers have been given, as to the type of shutoff device employed on the present 10 inch gas line, passing against today’s standards, too close to populated areas, with no assurance that in case of an emergency the gas flow would be automatically shut off after detecting a leak, isolating potential leaks, unlike in San Bruno CA, where 38 houses where destroyed
    ( and many lives lost, where it took 90 minutes to shut down the gas. The only mention in this article is referring to a compressor station and shutoff in in Coquitlam, not on the way into Squamish, some 50 + miles away!

  8. Jon S. says:

    Great News!

    Let’s get some shovels in the ground and get Squamish working!

  9. Jean says:

    Hi John, You obviously are not working. I suggest that you start getting self-employed and hire a few people, then you wont have time for these funny one liners or 10 worder,s with no interesting contribution to this most important Question for Squamish and BC… if you have children they are going to pay for it, for any mistakes made today.

    • Jon S. says:

      Firstly my name is Jon not John…learn how to read!

      My children will suffer if this plant is not build. They would pay due to the large infrastructure deficit of our community.

      Great observation! I am self employed but do not need any employees. Unfortunately I cannot provide the same economic impact as woodfibre.

    • Ron says:

      Jean, great reading, but…
      sounds like you are some Greenpeace activists trying to scare everyone. and that link you used, a bit of a black bag job, isn’t it? No offense you can’t up with some better stuff? Get your facts right. For example the name of the link is actually a guy who sold out his ‘evidence’ to get out of jail. If you would be in jail in indonesia with an 11 year criminal conviction you would sell out as well. Or, wait a minute, Greenpeace supports the president of Indonesia in coalition with a known human rights abuser. Great credentials. So what does your link have to do with anything of the debate?

  10. Jon S. says:

    Pure fiction!

  11. Dave says:

    Enough of the vitriol JON….unnecessary and, frankly, rather childish. State your case strongly and respect those of others please! Jean could have chosen her words better too but let’s not escalate.

    • Jon S. says:

      I’m only pointing out misleading or false statements…it is very necessary. My case is stated strongly by the facts put foreword by the reputable sources. I don’t feel the need like others to slap down useless links to unrelated environmentalist propaganda to prove my case.

      My comments are childish? I’m not to one mixing up commas and apostrophes i.e. “Spin dr,s.”

  12. Jean says:

    Jon is a shortened form of the common given name of Jonathan, derived from “YHWH has given”, and an alternate spelling of John,

    Pure Fiction…. an other 2 liner … do you have a real suggestion why LNG would be so good for your kids and are you also employed by the Spin Dr,s of W-LNG

    • Ron says:

      Jean, no offense, and i dont want to be rude. Now what alternative to your great schemes of talking about the future of kids you offer? Clearly you have little to offer other than the usual language that is so skillfully interwoven in the debate. For example, “mafia prices”, would ie. suggests you are intent to criminalize the narrative? Kids future, well but you are unable to provide an explanation of what type of future you foresee? Let me guess, poverty increases due to the absence of tourism industry incomes? Or seasonal dependency on work? So enlighten us what type of future you foresee? Because I expect in the reply, if you are replying your narrative will get a check list of items of some Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, EarthFirst! or whatever agenda training manual from Australia, Europe or elsewhere?

      Now i have no idea who Jon or Jonathan is, but seems the name seems more important to you than the substance of the debate. And one more thing, just if someone doesn’t agree with you it doesn’t mean he is wrong. That’s the difference between Canada and North Korea. Jon, is just a fine name. So is Jean and so is Ron.

  13. Jon S. says:

    No, my name is Jon – it isn’t short for anything. If you had read my comment you would have seen that I mention an infrastructure deficit. This is a clear inference to saying that my children need this project to fund municipal infrastructure so they have reasonable property taxes and can still afford to live in our community.

    It’s pretty simple stuff.