AltaGas gives green light to North Pine propane plant in northeastern B.C.

CALGARY – AltaGas Ltd. (TSX:ALA) has decided to go ahead with construction of a propane extraction plant in northeastern British Columbia that will supply the proposed Ridley Island export terminal near Prince Rupert, B.C. .

The Calgary-based company says the North Pine processing facility, 40 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John, B.C., is designed to have two phases with an ultimate capacity for processing up to 20,000 barrels per day.

Site preparation for the first phase is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017. Commercial production is expected in the second quarter of 2018.

AltaGas estimates the first phase will cost between $125 million and $135 million. The plan includes two supply pipelines, each 40 kilometres long, from an existing Alaska Highway truck terminal.

The company announced the North Pine investment decision Thursday along with third-quarter financial results.

AltaGas earned $46 million or 28 cents per share for the three-month period ended Sept. 30, up from $20 million or 15 cents per share in the 2015 third quarter. Revenue grew to $492 million, up from $452 million a year ago.

It also said its gas processing facility at Townsend, 100 kilometres north of Fort St. John, began commercial operations early in the third quarter. It said the $430-million project was completed in the third quarter, ahead of schedule and under budget.

The company is applying this month for a Townsend Phase 2 permit and expects approval by the second quarter of 2017.