ATCO plans new gas pipeline near city

A new high-pressure sweet gas pipeline is set to be built on the eastern limits of Red Deer.

A new high-pressure sweet gas pipeline is set to be built on the eastern limits of Red Deer.

ATCO Pipelines plans to start building the eight-km long pipeline this October in order to meet forecasted 2012 winter gas demands.

Scott Arndt, vice-president of operations and engineering for the company, said the pipeline is needed to meet the needs of customers in the area.

“By installing this new pipeline it’s going to increase our pipeline capacity in the area, to be able to deliver to the distribution company so they can deliver gas to residents in the area,” said Arndt on Tuesday.

Arndt said the pipeline would be built within the newest annexation area.

It’s parallel to the high voltage power line on the east side of the city.

“We’re working with other utility owners and creating a bit of a utility corridor there,” said Arndt.

The proposed pipeline would exist about 800 metres from the current development.

Arndt said they’re building to it to the highest standards and guidelines required by Alberta Utilities Commission and the Energy Resources Conservation Board.

It will have ongoing maintenance and inspection, so the risk is very minimal.

“Probably the biggest risk is from third-party damage where people are digging without calling for locates,” said Arndt.

It will be monitored 24 hours a day from the control centre.

Arndt said the risk of a leak would be minimal due to the pipeline being new.

There are systems that will detect the pipeline leak and then response and emergency plans will kick in.

There is no health risk, he added.

“The biggest risk is that it would find some sort of ignition,” Arndt said. “Unless there’s a source of ignition right on the pipeline, the gas, if there be any leak, would tend to migrate to the surface and because it’s lighter than air, it goes up.”

Arndt said the company is now working with landowners on getting their permission, and it would still need a permit from the utilities commission as well.

The city must also confirm it doesn’t object to the pipeline. The two parties have been working closely on routing.

The project is estimated at $12 million.

Arndt said one side benefit of this project is that a pipeline along 30th Avenue, installed about 60 years ago, would likely be abandoned in the near future.

When abandoned, the gas is removed and it’s displaced with air. The signs and pipeline remain.

Anyone with questions is asked to call Lance Radke of ATCO Pipelines at 780-420-3643.