A Coastal GasLink welder makes the first weld on pipe for the company’s 670-kilometre LNG pipeline near Kitimat June 1. (Coastal GasLink photo)

CGL completes first in-field pipeline welds for Kitimat section of project

‘I never thought I’d live to see this day:’ Skeena MLA praises start of pipeline welding in Kitimat

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross is heralding June 1 as a day for the history books.

On that day the Liberal politician was at a Coastal GasLink site in Kitimat where workers were completing the very first in-field pipeline welds for the Kitimat portion — known as Section 8 — of the 670-kilometre long pipeline route. The welds are being made in preparation for installation of pipe under the Kitimat River for the segment of pipeline that will connect to the LNG Canada liquefaction facility. The installation of this initial segment — approximately 500 metres in length — is slated to start in late July and marks a significant milestone for the project as the first pipe installed along the route.

Amid teams working through rainy conditions with a special structure put over the pipeline so they could work in the rain, Ross spoke to the length of time he has been passionate about bringing LNG to the region.

“This is pretty historic,” he said in a Facebook livestream, adding he first looked into the energy source some 16 years earlier. Ross said after doing the appropriate consultations, he liked what he saw. He would eventually step down as Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation to run, and eventually win, as the Liberal candidate in the riding during the 2017 provincial election.

READ MORE: Despite COVID-19, LNG Canada committed to first cargo delivery by middle of decade

Crystal Smith, who is the current Chief Councillor of the Haisla Nation, was also present and expressed that it was amazing to get to see so many concepts she had heard about prior to construction actually put into practice.

As for Ross, he said he was still shocked by how far the Province had come with regard to advancing the LNG industry. “I never thought I’d live to see this day — I’m in Kitimat,” he said proudly.

He added that, including things such as quality checks (which uses an ultrasound), it takes around 20 hours to complete a single weld.

The BC Oil and Gas Commission has previously estimated the Province’s reserves of raw natural gas to be in excess of 42 trillion cubic feet, which dwarfed already massive estimates earlier in the decade.

While the fuel source has seen an uptick in both industry investment and consumer awareness in recent years, selling the energy source is by no means a recent concept.

One of LNGs first major events in the region goes back over a decade, to 2007, when Pacific Trail Pipeline Limited Partnerships filed an application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate relating to a proposed pipeline-looping project from Kitimat to Summit Lake.

Now, a decade and change later, that goal is closer to reality, with LNGC committed to delivering its first load to global markets by the middle of the decade and preliminary work on the CGL pipeline well underway.

A spokesperson with CGL told The Interior News the day’s events represented the culmination of efforts from a variety of parties.

“We deeply appreciate the support of the District of Kitimat, along with the Haisla Nation and others who support this project,” they said.

“Without the strong collaboration, we could not have achieved this milestone.”

Ross agreed.

“I don’t think anybody really realizes what this really means to Kitimat, Skeena, B.C., Canada — today is a pretty significant day, given the amount of work and effort that’s gone into getting to this day,” said Ross.

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