1 Project overview

1.1 Why build this natural gas line?

Construction of this natural gas line is closely tied to the development of the natural gas (LNG) liquefaction complex in Grande-Anse, near Saguenay. Each day, the future plant will require a supply of 1.55 billion cubic feet (44 million cubic metres) of natural gas (see www.energiesaguenay.com for further details). Quebec’s current natural gas transmission system capacity does not meet the needs of Énergie Saguenay.

1.2 Why did you choose the name “Gazoduq” for this project?

It was important that the name of our project reflect its purpose, i.e. an underground natural gas transmission line. We replaced the letter “c” with the letter “q” to highlight the Québec nature of the project. 

2 Job creation and economic benefits

2.1 How many jobs will be created during the construction and operation phases?

Based on similar projects, a project of this scale will create a few thousand jobs during the construction phase. These will be specialized jobs and jobs in peripheral fields, such as deforestation.

Construction of the natural gas line will also lead to the creation of very many local jobs along the route, both for work associated with construction of the line and for services, such as lodging and food. The current forecast is around 6,000 jobs over four years.

A number of jobs have already been created for the project development phase with local contractors and consultants, such as UDA. We are currently evaluating the number of construction jobs that will be created during completion of the project, as well as the number of spinoff jobs from related economic activity.

Jobs during the operation phase will generally be specialized positions associated with control and monitoring, maintenance, and servicing of the natural gas line.

2.2 Will there be opportunities for Québec businesses and workers in the project?

Yes. There will be opportunities. Once the preliminary assessments enable a route to be determined, it will be possible to identify and quantify needs to complete the project. These will be communicated to interested parties through a variety of means, including invitations to bid to provide services during the pre-construction period.

2.3 What types of jobs might be offered for such a project?

Building a natural gas line will require a huge number of resources. Gazoduq Inc. will collaborate with subcontractors, who will identify specific needs and fill the positions following standard procedures.

Types of jobs likely to be offered include:

  • Civil, electrical, forest and mechanical engineers
  • Land surveyors
  • Civil engineering, environmental and laboratory technicians
  • Foremen for civil and mechanical work
  • Agronomists
  • Biologists
  • Draftsmen
  • Electricians
  • Heavy machinery, side boom tractor, shovel and camera crane operators
  • Mechanics
  • Pipefitters
  • Welders
  • Plumbers
  • Drillers
  • Truck drivers
  • Joiners
  • Loggers
  • Labourers and specialized labourers
  • Flaggers
  • Prevention officers
  • Office clerks

2.4 What will be the economic benefits of the natural gas line for Québec?

The benefits are numerous. An increased supply of natural gas will:

  • significantly reduce global GHG emissions where it can replace coal, fuel oil and diesel in industrial plants and other applications (such as shipping) currently using more polluting fuels.  It should be noted that the Energie Sagueany LNG facility will be the lowest GHG emission export LNG plant in the world due to its use of renewable, hydroelectricity to power the facility.
  • lead to the creation of a large number of jobs during the construction phase and permanent positions during the operating phase
  • encourage economic growth through the creation of essential infrastructures likely to attract investors to Québec
  • bring in significant tax revenues to the various levels of government
  • provide income/compensation to property owners
  • potentially contribute to the delivery of natural gas to the regions concerned
  • support the Quebec Government’s Energy Policy in a variety of ways


3 Technical characteristics of the natural gas line

3.1 What will be the diameter of the natural gas line?

Based on our preliminary analyses, the planned diameter of the future line will be 42 inches or 1067 mm.

3.2 What material will be used for the natural gas line, and how thick will the wall be?

A specialized high-strength steel, designed specifically for natural gas lines, and coated with a protective layer of epoxy. The exact thickness of the wall will be finalized once the design phase of the natural gas line is finished. However, the thickness retained will have to strictly comply with all codes and regulations governing the safe construction and operation of Canadian piping systems.

3.3 What is the difference between a natural gas line and an oil pipeline?

The main difference is in the product carried, natural gas versus petroleum. Although they share the use of specialized high-strength steels, coated with a layer of epoxy to protect them, natural gas lines and oil pipelines are nonetheless governed by an array of codes, standards and regulations specific to each regarding their design, construction and operation. Another difference, natural gas lines use compressors to push the natural gas through the line while oil pipelines use pumps to move a liquid product.If a leak occurs in an oil pipeline, the product accumulates in the ground. In the case of a natural gas transmission line, the gas quickly dissipates in the atmosphere.

4 The natural gas source

4.1 Where will the natural gas that feeds the line come from?

Natural gas will mostly come from Western Canada. That being said, given the integration of natural gas networks between Canada and the United States, it is impossible to know the precise source of a natural gas molecule (CH4), as it is impossible to know if electricity that we consume comes specifically from Hydro-Québec’s La Manic or La Grande.

4.2 Is there a relationship between the natural gas line and the Energy East project or TransCanada?

No, there is no relationship between the natural gas line and the Energy East oil pipeline, a project spearheaded by TransCanada. The only relationship with TransCanada concerns the connection of the future natural gas line to their natural gas transmission lines located in northeastern Ontario. 

5 The route and environmental impact assessments

5.1 Who is doing the impact assessment?

The impact study is being done by a team of professionals from Gazoduq Inc., with the support of the Groupe Conseil UDA, an agricultural, forestry and environmental consulting firm founded in 1978. To date, this firm has completed more than 4,000 projects, including environmental impact assessments, environmental and agronomic studies, as well as administration of various permit and authorization applications. The vast majority of impact assessments for oil pipeline projects and natural gas lines in Québec were conducted by this firm.

UDA will also supervise the impact assessment of the Ontario portion of the project, which represents roughly 10% of the total length of the natural gas line.

5.2 When will the environmental impact study be completed?

We are currently in the preparation phase of the impact study. There are still certain elements to be completed in order to finalize the impact study, such as the acquisition and processing of data as well as certain consultation activities.

5.3 Will the environmental impact study be accessible to the public?

Yes, it will be made available on our website and also on the sites of the MELCC and the IAAC.

6 Information and consultations with stakeholders

6.1 How can the public become involved in the consultation process leading up to construction of the natural gas line?

Formal public consultations were begun when the project was announced and allowed us to identify a preferred planning area that minimizes impacts. Members of the public will also have the opportunity to express themselves during the review process at both the federal and provincial levels.

The purpose of these consultations, information meetings and other forums is to ensure that communities are fully informed of all aspects of the project and that they have the opportunity to share their concerns and suggestions, both with the proponent and the relevant authorities.

Gazoduq intends to pursue the dialogue with local and indigenous communities throughout the development process.

Moreover, the public may call us or write to us at any time.

6.2 Will Indigenous communities be consulted?

We believe it is essential to consult with Indigenous communities. Therefore, we contacted representatives of the Indigenous communities that could be affected by the project very early on in the project development process. Today and throughout the development process, we would like to continue an open dialogue with these communities.

6.3 The natural gas line is likely to pass through territories where Indigenous communities historically have hunting and fishing rights. Will this reality be taken into account during project development?

Obviously, these realities will be taken into account. They will form part of our exchanges with representatives from Indigenous communities. These questions will also be addressed in the usual studies on land and resource use that will be done to prepare for construction of the project.

7 The authorization process and obtaining permits

7.1 To what regulations will the natural gas line be subject?

All major projects are subject to laws and regulations. These may be federal, provincial or municipal. This is the case for the future natural gas line.

When a new natural gas line crosses a provincial border, as is the case for ours, it is subject to regulation by the National Energy Board. The natural gas line cannot be built or operated without a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). In addition, the project is subject to regulation both provincially and locally; it will therefore have to take into account various municipal regulations.

The project will comply with all laws and regulations in force throughout its life cycle.

7.2 Will the natural gas line project be subject to the analysis process of the MDDELCC and the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE)?

Completion of the project will require that numerous permits be obtained from various levels of government. Gazoduq Inc. will fully comply with all of the laws and regulations to which it will be subject. 

9 Measures to protect the environment

9.1 What measures will be taken to protect the environment during the construction and operation phases of the natural gas line?

Construction of natural gas lines requires leading-edge expertise. For this type of work, we need to hire qualified, reputable contractors, who are known and recognized for their skills in this industry. These contractors apply mitigation measures and monitoring practices that comply with applicable regulations and the policies of the business. Safety measures protect the environment, including animals, neighbouring communities and, above all their own personnel.

An environmental protection and management plan will be developed to limit the scale, scope and duration of potential environmental effects from the project. Among other things, this plan will:

  • identify the applicable federal and provincial regulations
  • identify the necessary permits, approvals and authorizations
  • describe the protective measures to be applied, and
  • collaborate with the redaction of compliance documents

A complete database on compliance will be built to follow and undertake all commitments, permits and conditions associated with project approval.

Typical examples of protective measures include:

  • Environmental inspectors will be hired to monitor and ensure compliance.
  • Personnel will be required to take environmental training.
  • Handling of waste will be controlled strictly.
  • Worksite activities will be closely monitored.
  • Equipment will be well maintained and have appropriate noise reduction.
  • Sensitive areas will be identified and fenced or signs posted.

9.2 How will threatened animals, plants and wetlands found along the route of the natural gas line be protected?

To prepare for evaluations by applicable authorities, exhaustive impact assessments will be conducted along the entire length of the optimal route chosen. Besides striving to avoid all sensitive areas, these assessments will compile all potential environmental repercussions, such as on animals, plants and wetlands, and propose a wide range of mitigation measures.

9.3 How will the natural gas line cross waterways?

There are several ways of crossing bodies of water. In most cases, it is done by diking and pumping. Dikes are built upstream and downstream from the natural gas line, thereby drying out the bed of the body of water, and pumps are installed to move water from one side to the other during work. The line is then laid in a trench dug in the bed of the waterway. Last, the natural gas line is insulated, and then the bed and riverbanks are returned to their former state.

We can consider using a method known as “horizontal directional drilling”, in special cases. As its name suggests, thanks to this technique, a borehole is first drilled under the river bed from which the gas line is then drawn. The depth of the drilling depends on the local geological formation.

9.4 Will construction or operation of the natural gas line pose a risk to drinking water, artesian wells or the water table?

There is no risk to citizens’ drinking water. Gazoduq has developed a preferred planning area (PPA) that strives to minimize impacts and avoids all protected municipal drinking water and groundwater sources.

It is also important to clarify that natural gas is not like oil. Lighter than air, it rises and then quickly disperses in the atmosphere without leaving a trace. Natural gas is insoluble. An underwater leak creates bubbles that quickly rise to the surface and then dissipate into the air. Nonetheless, during design and construction, all required measures will be taken to protect water sources and the water table.

Furthermore, regulatory guidelines require monitoring in the years following construction. The route of the natural gas line is therefore surveyed regularly by environmental experts who ensure that the integrity of the environment is fully respected, taking into account all mitigation measures provided for in the impact assessment statements.

10 Rights-of-way, compensations and losses

10.1 How will relations be established with landowners along the natural gas line route?

The basic philosophy underlying all steps leading to completion of the natural gas line is to be respectful of landowners and reach negotiated agreements with all stakeholders concerned, be they individual, industrial, commercial or municipal owners. We will also consult with Indigenous communities communities. Successful negotiated agreements are founded on open information and honesty, mutual respect between the parties, and dialogue.

The goal is to obtain a right-of-way from each of the owners concerned for the construction and operation of the natural gas transmission line. They will continue to own their land, but receive financial compensation for granting the right-of-way, as well as various compensations and losses for inconveniences associated with construction of the natural gas line.

One of the unique aspects of our project is that approximately 80% of the route of our natural gas line is on Crown land. The construction of our natural gas line therefore has a much lower impact on private owners than a natural gas line built near communities with many private properties.

10.2 Will landowners be notified, and will they be asked for permission for surveys to be done on their property?

All of our steps, at any phase of development of the natural gas line project, seek the same goal, i.e. to arrive at a mutually negotiated agreement with the people involved. To do a survey, a representative of Gazoduq Inc. will first contact the owner to discuss access to their property.

10.3 Will there be compensation for harvest losses?

The negotiated agreements to be undertaken with farm owners include a variety of compensations, first for activities to prepare for construction work, then for nuisances and harvest losses during the work itself and, lastly, for any loss of agricultural income that might occur in the years following the start of operation of the natural gas line.

11 Natural gas line operation

11.1 Will the permanent right-of-way of the natural gas line be useable for other purposes?

Under certain conditions, on public property, it will be possible to develop light infrastructures for recreational purposes, such as bicycle paths or snowmobile trails.

On private property, some activities will be allowed; others will require prior authorization or be prohibited.

So, aside from some restrictions regarding the use of heavy vehicles, it will be possible to continue normal agricultural activities, such as livestock grazing, harrowing, plowing, spreading of fertilizers or organic matter, and harvesting. Other activities, such as excavations deeper than 30 centimetres, installation of drainage systems or ditching, will require prior authorization. Last, for obvious safety reasons, the construction of permanent structures, such as buildings, swimming pools, parking lots and retaining walls, would only be permitted at a safe distance from the natural gas line.

11.2 What would happen if there were a leak in the natural gas line?

Should a leak occur on the natural gas line, the control centre, which is on standby 24 hours a day, would automatically close shutoff valves and trigger the shut down of pumping stations.

Using specialized equipment in the control centre, technicians would be able to quickly identify the location of an incident and rush in first responders to secure the site. Specialized teams would then perform the required repairs.