The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada has initiated the impact assessment of the proposed Gazoduq Project, a 780-km pipeline that will carry approximately 51 million cubic metres of natural gas per day from TC Energy Limited’s mainline near Ramore, Ontario to a liquefied natural gas plant in Saguenay, Quebec.
Two documents in draft form are available for public review. The terms of reference set out the mandate and powers of the Integrated Review Panel, as well as the procedures and timelines for conducting the impact assessment. The “Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement on the coordination of the environmental and impact assessment processes for the Gazoduq Project” describes the cooperation process that has been developed with the government of Quebec to harmonize procedures and timelines for the assessment of the project in order to facilitate opportunities for participation.
Comments on the Canada-Quebec Cooperation Agreement will be accepted until June 4, 2020, and on the terms of reference until June 30, 2020.
The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will schedule the formal commencement of the impact assessment process after the terms of reference have been agreed to. Participant funding will be available to eligible groups.
Gazoduq Inc. plans to make a final investment decision by the end of third quarter of 2021 and to begin construction in late 2021 or early 2022. The in-service date is planned for the fourth quarter of 2024, and is contingent on timely approval and efficient project execution.
However, there are already signs that external factors, in this case COVID-19, may place that ambitious schedule in jeopardy. On April 14, 2020, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada added another 90 days to the 180-day time limit for the project’s planning phase. The extension followed a request from Quebec that the time limit be extended to accommodate COVID-19 disruptions.