All of the pipe for Coastal GasLink’s natural gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada facility at Kitimat has been delivered and awaiting placement. (Coastal GasLink photo)

All of the pipe for Coastal GasLink’s natural gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada facility at Kitimat has been delivered and awaiting placement. (Coastal GasLink photo)

Haisla-Ledcor moves in on pipeline construction

Replaces Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture

Story by Rod Link

Coastal GasLink has moved in a new company to take over construction of the portion of its natural gas pipeline closest to Kitimat.

Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture (MSJV) had originally been awarded the contract for the 84 kilometres of what’s called Section 8 running from north of Morice Lake near Houston to the LNG Canada natural gas liquefaction plant now under construction. But in an update, Coastal GasLink has announced that Ledcor-Haisla Limited Partnership now has responsibility for approximately 55 kilometres of that section.

Due to its complexity, Coastal GasLink has decided to split Section 8 into East and West halves. Ledcor Haisla Limited Partnership (LHLP) has been contracted to complete the construction of Section 8 West which enables Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture (MSJV) to focus solely on Section 8 East.

“Section 8 continues to be our most challenging section for construction as the project passes through traversing icy pass, and high elevation mountains which pass through the Coastal Mountains,” Coastal GasLink wrote in its May update.

“Ledcor-Haisla Limited Partnership joined the Coastal GasLink project earlier this month to lead construction work on the western portion of Section 8 while Macro Spiecapag Joint Venture continues to lead construction work on the eastern portion of Section 8.”

This is the second time Coastal GasLink has moved in a company to replace MSJV. Last fall Pacific Atlantic Pipeline Construction replaced MSJV on the 82 kilometres of Section 5 from north of Vanderhoof to south of Burns Lake.

At the time, Coastal GasLink said the move would allow MSJV to concentrate on Section 8 which, last fall, it also described as the most challenging portion of the eight sections making up the 670-kilometre line pipeline from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.

Pacific Atlantic’s acquisition of Section 5 means it now has three sections of the pipeline.

As part of the construction shift, three smaller construction camps planned along Section 8 won’t be needed, leaving workers concentrated on camps near Kitimat and Houston.

As of the May update, 76 per cent of Section 8 has been cleared with 39 per cent graded and five per cent of pipe installed.

Construction along the pipeline route had been slowed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Coastal GasLink now says it is ramping up activity with this summer being crucial to the overall work plan.

A key milestone has now been reached with delivery and placement in staging areas of all the pipe needed for the project. The pipe came from facilities in Saskatchewan and was shipped to the area by rail and from Asia, arriving at the Stewart port and then trucked inland.

“Our pipe delivery kilometres equate to 137 trips around the equator,” noted CGL pipe delivery project manager Cathy Wang who said the task was completed on time, on budget and with no safety incidents.

“While the project had a limited workforce during the first five months of this year, construction has continued to advance,” the company said in its update.

“Through efforts on our 2021 scheduling and planning, we remain on track to bring the pipeline into service in 2023.”

Multi-national Ledcor and the Haisla First Nation created their joint venture in 2011 to take advantage of industrial opportunities in the region. Ledcor-Haisla Limited Partnership brings decades of Canadian Pipeline Construction experience, including recent work in the Kitimat region.

The partnership took a major step forward in 2016 by signing contracts with LNG Canada leading to major site preparation and associated work for the LNG Canada plant site and work camp location.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink increase workforce numbers

(With files from Priyanka Ketkar, The Lakes District News)