FAQ

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. a 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

Ajuster avec les retombées économiques traduites en anglais

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 between 36 and 42 inches, or 91.4 and 106.7 cm.

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 Will the natural gas line cross the St. Lawrence River?

No. The corridor currently under study is very far from the St. Lawrence River.

5.2 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.

5.3 When will the environmental impact study be completed?

The environmental impact study must be based on detailed environmental inventories that will be carried out in 2019, thus making it possible to submit the environmental impact study by the end of 2019.

5.4 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, the BAPE and the National Energy Board.

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 will begin soon and will continue until the start of construction. In addition to these consultations, the public will be able to attend information meetings in readily accessible locations which are still to be determined, but that will be near the proposed route. 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 are to ensure, on the one hand, that the public is fully informed of all aspects of the project and, on the other, that they will have the opportunity share their concerns, proposals and suggestions, both with the promoter and the relevant authorities.

6.2 Will you present your project to local communities even before the regulatory consultation process imposed by the various levels of government has begun?

Our intention is to present the project as early as possible to all stakeholders in order to receive their comments and suggestions, which can then be taken into account before the public regulatory hearings are held.

6.3 Will Indigenous communities be consulted?

We believe it is essential to collaborate with Indigenous communities. Therefore, we have already launched a dialogue with their representatives located in the corridor that is currently being studied and who might be affected by completion of the project.

6.4 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. 

7.3 Will this project be subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA)?

At present, any infrastructure project, such as a natural gas line, that crosses a provincial or international border is subject to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. For projects regulated by the National Energy Board, under the CEAA, the board is required to produce an exhaustive report on the extent of their potential environmental effects. It is also responsible for coordinating project reviews by other federal entities that have responsibilities that tie into the project.

7.4 Will the future natural gas line be under the jurisdiction of the National Energy Board (NEB)?

Yes, indeed. In Canada, any infrastructure that crosses a provincial border falls under NEB jurisdiction. This will be the case for the natural gas line, since it will connect to an existing line in Ontario and extend to Saguenay, Québec.

7.5 Does the project expect to cross controlled harvesting zones (ZEC) or outfitting operations?

The presence of ZECs and outfitting operations is taken into account in the corridor study now being analyzed. Our intention is to adopt a route that will minimize our impact and that, whenever possible, will avoid or detour around ZECs where outfitting operations are located. However, since these are Crown lands in all cases, should the future natural gas line be obliged to cross ZECs or outfitting operations, discussions will take place mainly with MERN officials.

8 Measures to protect the environment

8.1 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.

8.2 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.

8.3 When choosing the route for the natural gas line, will you take into account the presence of woodland caribou, a species now considered to be threatened?

Our intention is to avoid potential impacts on this threatened species. Therefore, the limits of the study corridor have been defined to exclude known distribution ranges for woodland caribou in Ontario, northern Québec, near Val-d’Or and south of Saguenay.

8.4 How will the natural gas line cross waterways?

There are several ways of crossing bodies of water. To cross major rivers, a method known as “horizontal directional drilling” is generally used. As the name suggests, in this technique, first a tunnel is drilled under the river and the natural gas line is then drawn into it. The depth of the tunnel will depend on the local geological formation.

For smaller waterways, in most cases, diking and pumping are done. 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.

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

Natural gas is not like oil or other liquid petroleum products. 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 in the air, unlike petroleum products, which float on the water before evaporating.

Nonetheless, during design and construction the required measures will be taken to minimize the impacts on water sources and on the water table.

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

9 Rights-of-way, compensations and losses

9.1 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.

9.2 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.

9.3 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.

9.4 Will fees be offered to municipalities located on the route of the natural gas line?

Annual taxes will indeed be paid to municipalities. This is a significant economic benefit, in addition to the jobs created and economic activities brought by the construction and operation of the future natural gas line.

10 Natural gas line operation

10.1 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.

10.2 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.