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    Alberta utility plans C$2bn pipeline enhancement


ATCO Energy Systems' Yellowhead Mainline project would provide gas supply to Edmonton-area petrochemical and other gas demand projects, including Dow Canada's net-zero ethylene cracker.

by: Dale Lunan

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Alberta utility plans C$2bn pipeline enhancement

ATCO Energy Systems, part of Canadian Utilities Limited (CUL), on May 8 launched its “largest ever” energy infrastructure project, the C$2bn Yellowhead Mainline project to deliver natural gas from Peers, west of Edmonton, to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH).

“As Alberta’s energy demand continues to grow, the Yellowhead Mainline will play a crucial role in reinforcing Alberta’s energy infrastructure and enhancing access to reliable energy from one of the cleanest sources of natural gas on the planet," ATCO Energy Systems COO Wayne Stensby said.

Yellowhead Mainline is part of CUL’s plan to invest about C$4.5bn over the next three years to expand and enhance the reliability of its natural gas and electric systems, Stensby told CUL’s annual meeting in Edmonton on May 8.

The project is expected to create 2,000 jobs during construction and provide up to 1bn ft3/day of natural gas supply to support more than C$20bn of investment by ATCO’s customers, including Dow Canada’s C$8.8bn Fort Saskatchewan Path2Zero project, the world’s first net-zero integrated ethylene cracker and derivatives facility.

“Dow appreciates the partnership with ATCO to supply Dow's Path2Zero project,” Dow Canada president Diego Ordonez said. “Together these projects will have a profound positive impact on communities, creating jobs and economic opportunity for Alberta.”

The project consists of about 200 km of high-pressure natural gas pipeline and related control and compression facilities extending from near Peers to the AIH region, an industrial area on Edmonton’s northeastern outskirts and home to Dow Canada’s project.

Total investment is expected to exceed C$2bn, ATCO Energy Systems said, with more precise cost estimates subject to further refinement of project scope, routing and detailed engineering. Construction would begin in 2026, subject to regulatory and company approvals, and the expansion is expected to be on-stream in Q4 2027.