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    Canada’s TC Energy Rejects Extension of Special Storage Access


New capacity additions have improved storage access

by: Dale Lunan

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Canada’s TC Energy Rejects Extension of Special Storage Access

Canada’s TC Energy, which owns the Nova Gas Transmission Limited (NGTL) gas pipeline grid, rejects the idea of extending special provisions in its tariff to enhance access to storage when the NGTL grid is constrained.

In an August 31 filing to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), TC Energy said the request earlier in August by the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC) to extend the temporary service protocol (TSP) in NGTL’s tariff for another summer gas season should be rejected as unnecessary.

“TSP was a temporary solution to be in place only for the 2019 and 2020 summer seasons (April through October) to help manage system constraints during planned outage/maintenance periods at and upstream of the Clearwater compressor station and Woodenhouse compressor station,” TC Energy said. The CER’s original decision to approve the TSP for the 2019 and 2020 summer gas seasons, it said, included no provisions for extending it beyond October 2020.

NGTL applied for the TSP in early 2019 based on unique circumstances and after discussions with industry suggested strong support for the temporary tariff adjustment. EPAC’s application, however, doesn’t appear to have the same industry support, and it was filed by the association without discussing it with NGTL’s users.

At the time NGTL applied for TSP in early 2019, access to storage through its interruptible transportation-storage (IT-S) rate category was limited, and in the summer of 2019, only about 300mn ft3/day of gas was injected into storage, the third lowest summer injection total since 2000.

Since April 2019, TC Energy said, it has added about 1bn ft3/day of new capacity to the NGTL system, increasing operational flexibility on the system and significantly improving the ability of producers to store production.

“From April 1, 2020 through August 28, 2020, an average of nearly 1.3bn ft3/day of storage injection via IT-S occurred, the highest level of injection for the April to August time frame since 2000,” TC Energy said in its filing. “This level of injection occurred without the use of TSP, as there have been no [constraint] occurrences during 2020 to date, and none are expected to be triggered prior to the defined end date of October 31, 2020.”

Extending the TSP for another summer season, TC Energy said, would skew market signals by prioritising access to storage over firm transportation service and increase the risk of users walking away from firm delivery contracts.