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The Best Place on Earth


Jan. 28, 2010

Ministry of Environment





VICTORIA – EnCana Corporation (the proponent) has received an environmental assessment certificate for its Cabin Gas Plant Project.


Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Blair Lekstrom made the decision to grant the certificate after considering the review led by B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).


The project will process up to 800 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas, and be located approximately 60 km northeast of Fort Nelson. The project will be constructed on one square km of provincial Crown land. The existing EnCana Horn River Pipeline will supply the raw gas to the project, and the processed gas is anticipated to be transported from the project to consumers by TransCanada Pipelines Limited’s proposed Horn River Mainline Project, currently being reviewed by the National Energy Board.  

The EAO’s assessment report concluded the project is not likely to result in any significant adverse effects, with the exception of carbon dioxide emissions. To address this, the plant will be built “capture ready”, and the proponent has committed to working further with government and industry to explore carbon capture and storage options. In addition, the plant will be subject to B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act, which is a key pillar in B.C.’s plan to reduce GHG emissions 33 per cent by 2020. The issuance of an environmental assessment certificate does not limit government’s ability to restrict GHG emissions through the cap-and-trade system or other applicable law.


The proponent will also be required to comply with 60 other legally binding commitments. These include:

·         Requiring contractors to use energy-efficient equipment such as premium-efficiency electric motors and energy-efficient natural gas generators to reduce the project’s CO2 emissions.

·         Minimizing changes to drainage patterns, soil moisture conditions and preventing de-watering of upland wetlands.

·         Providing construction and operations personnel with wildlife awareness training, prohibiting the harassment of wildlife and minimizing impacts to birds during breeding season.

·         Hiring locally, including First Nations, and using local goods and services.

·         Using seasonal roads and co-ordinating with regional emergency service providers to decrease the impact of the project on those services.

·         Developing a site restoration and reclamation program prior to the decommissioning of the project.


The project did not trigger an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.  Before the project can proceed, the proponent will need to obtain necessary provincial licenses, leases and other approvals.


The Fort Nelson First Nation, Dene Tha’ First Nation, Halfway River First Nation, Prophet River First Nation, Doig River First Nation, West Moberly First Nations, Saulteau First Nations, Blueberry River First Nations and the Treaty 8 Tribal Association were consulted on the environmental assessment, and the B.C. government is satisfied the Crown’s duties to consult and accommodate First Nations have been discharged.


The capital cost of the project is expected to be approximately $800 million to $1 billion, and the project will contribute approximately $2.2 billion to provincial GDP and $1.2 billion to GDP in northeast B.C. The project will also help generate $4 billion to $6 billion in provincial revenue over its 25-year lifespan, and approximately $1 million per year in taxes to the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality. The 28-month construction phase is expected to generate an estimated total of 267 person-years of direct, full-time employment. The operations phase is expected to generate an estimated total of 1,000 to 1,250 person years of direct, full-time employment.


More information on the environmental assessment certificate can be found at





Suntanu Dalal

Media Relations

Ministry of Environment

250 387-9745



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