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Shell Canada gets approvals for pipelines and gas well

The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has approved Shell Canada Limited’s applications to construct and operate two pipelines and a single gas well battery in the Beaver Mines area of southern Alberta.

Shell applied for approval to construct and operate two pipelines that are about 1.2 km in length and are required for production at the company’s existing Waterton 68 well, which is located about 30 kilometres southwest of Pincher Creek.

The plant produces natural gas (methane), ethane, propane, butane, condensate and sulphur.

One pipeline is intended to transport natural gas and have a maximum outside diameter of 168.3 millimetres (mm).

The other pipeline is intended to transport fuel gas with no hydrogen sulfide.

This pipeline would run parallel to the first and have a maximum outside diameter of 60.3 mm.

Shell also applied to construct and operate a single well gas battery, about 5.8 km southwest of the hamlet of Beaver Mines.

It would handle production from the existing Waterton 68 well, which was constructed between 1960 and 1962 to process sour natural gas from the Waterton field.

It has undergone a number of expansions to increase capacity and improve its efficiency in reducing emissions.

The ERCB held a hearing in Pincher Creek in March to consider the applications and hear concerns.

In approving the applications, the board said Shell had met the conditions previously imposed as part of the approval of the Waterton 68 well in 2011 and could operate the existing pipeline system and the new pipelines safely.

For example, Shell said that the pipelines would be built within the existing, disturbed road right of-way along Seven Gates Road.

It indicated plans to use a narrow trenching tool called a rock saw to limit construction and bell hole disturbance to the shoulder and ditch of the road, which are already disturbed.

To minimize environmental effects at the lease site, Shell has removed and transplanted native plants and trees before construction.

The plants were extracted and transported to a local greenhouse for safe keeping and will be used in the eventual reclamation of the lease site, as well for the propagation of other plants to be used in Shell’s other local reclamation efforts.

The 2012 environmental assessment indicates that construction during autumn would have less impact on grizzly bears, as they are more active in the area in spring and summer.

It further indicates that impacts to nesting birds are expected to be low, with any effects mitigated by reclamation of the site.

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