Tidewater completes Pioneer Pipeline four months ahead of schedule

Image: Joey Podlubny/JWN

A new pipeline that will help two of TransAlta’s generating stations switch from coal to natural gas has been completed four months ahead of schedule.

The 120-kilometre Pioneer Pipeline connects Tidewater Midstream’s Brazeau River natural gas complex in west-central Alberta to TransAlta’s Sundance and Keephills generating stations near Edmonton.

TransAlta and Tidewater announced Pioneer in December 2017, using Montney and Deep Basin natural gas to accelerate TransAlta’s transition off coal. Construction commenced in November 2018. The companies own the pipeline in a 50/50 joint venture.

Tidewater confirmed on Friday that the pipeline transported first gas in late May. The company had previously announced its expectation of the project’s early completion.

The Pioneer Pipeline is currently flowing approximately 50 MMcf/day of natural gas during this start-up phase where initial flows may fluctuate depending on market conditions,” the company said.

“Throughput of approximately 130 MMcf/day of natural gas will commence flowing through the Pioneer Pipeline November 1, 2019.”

TransAlta says that construction of additional gas facilities at Sundance and Keephills is scheduled for 2019. Unit conversions are scheduled to start in 2020, continuing to the end of 2023.