THETFORD-MINES, QC, Dec. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Following today's announcement by the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Stephen Harper, in the presence of Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, of a $18.1 million contribution toward a total investment project of $24.7 million so the Thetford-Mines region can be supplied with natural gas, Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gaz Métro, is proud to confirm her company's significant stake in this large-scale project that will enable the region to be served as soon as 2012. Gaz Métro will supply the region by extending its current distribution network by 72 km.
Gaz Métro will serve a new region
Thanks to the financial contributions from the Federal Government and Gaz Métro of $18.1 million and $6.6 million respectively, this project, long hoped for by the Thetford-Mines community, will become reality in the fall of 2012. Gaz Métro now has all it needs to begin the commercialization process with a view to reaching agreements with the principal natural gas users in the sector. The route chosen will follow Route 112 from Vallée-Jonction to Black Lake. This extension of the distribution system will serve these two municipalities, as well as Tring-Jonction, Sacré-Cœur de Jésus, East-Broughton, Saint-Pierre de Broughton, and Thetford-Mines.
Economy and the environment go hand in hand
"As well as contributing to the economic development of the region by enabling it to increase its industrial potential," Sophie Brochu said today, "the availability of natural gas will contribute to the competitiveness of the energy supplies of our future customers. This pipeline project will also help significantly improve their environmental balance sheets: many commercial and industrial customers will be able to convert from fuel oil to natural gas in the coming years and thus reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30%."
It will be recalled that in the business market, natural gas has been the least expensive energy for 11 years and, as the cleanest fuel, it can contribute immediately and significantly to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG).
Initially, customers will come principally from the commercial, institutional and industrial sectors and will annually consume about 10 million cubic metres of natural gas. As for the region's potential for this sector, it is estimated at over 60 customers consuming more than 16 million cubic metres of natural gas per year. The project would thus permit replacing more than 8 million litres of fuel oil, which represents a reduction in GHG emissions of about 8,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Process underway to serve the region
Gaz Métro is recognized for its expertise in managing reliable and safe natural gas systems. The company will ensure, as it does for all its projects, that it obtains the permits and authorizations needed and respects environmental and regulatory requirements. The preliminary route proposed will minimize environmental and agricultural impacts while respecting project economies. In the coming months, Gaz Métro will table a request to the Régie de l'énergie to authorize the investments related to this network extension, which for Gaz Métro represents an investment of $6.6 million.
Gaz Métro Overview
With $3.6 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is the major natural gas distributor in Québec, where it serves more than 300 municipalities. Operating in this regulated sector for more than 50 years, Gaz Métro has become the energy supplier of choice for some 182,000 customers in Québec and 136,000 customers in Vermont, and it has acquired the know-how and skills needed to diversify its activities beyond natural gas. In line with its prudent growth strategy, Gas Métro has made a successful entry into the electricity distribution market in Vermont and into the development of wind energy projects in Québec. Gaz Métro is dedicated to satisfying its customers, partners, employees, and the communities where it operates. www.gazmetro.com
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