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Mar 22 2021

A TC Energy first: Compression modular innovation

Posted by TC Energy


Using a setback to our advantage

How do you fit 14 months of construction into nine? Not with a time machine, but with hard work, ingenuity and innovation like recently seen on the 2021 NGTL System Expansion Project. The project will add a significant amount of pipeline to the NGTL system in Alberta and three 30-megawatt compressor station unit additions at Beiseker, Nordegg and Didsbury.

For a typical compressor station, the regulatory process would take less than 12 months. However, because these stations are combined with the pipeline, the regulatory process was much longer – taking almost 2.5 years! The project team used this delayed timeline as a unique opportunity to reduce the duration of onsite construction. With an industry-leading concept, the compression project team took our traditional onsite compression station design and revised it into modules – meaning much of the build could be done offsite and assembled onsite to reduce the construction schedule, all while adding other tangible benefits:

tc-icon-safety-200x200.jpg Safety

  • Reduced onsite construction decreases the exposure to onsite safety incidents.
  • Fabricating in a shop environment limits exposure to events like poor weather.
  • Roof modules can be built on the ground rather than working in the air from a significant height.


tc-icon-checklist-200x200.jpg Quality Control

  • Most of the fabrication can occur in a controlled setting.
  • Operational issues can be identified before commissioning.
  • Increased schedule certainty during construction due to reduced number of associated activities.


tc-icon-mind-200x200.jpg Innovation

  • 3D scanning of the modules prior to them arriving on site where quality issues could be addressed early on, rather than addressing concerns onsite.
  • Using the ‘digital twin’ technology, facility construction can be safer, reduce project costs, and improve overall design.


tc-icon-doillar-blue-200x200.jpg Supporting local businesses

  • Offsite construction provides the opportunity to use local fabrication shops, close to the facility site, like the one the project has been using in Crossfield, Alberta.

What’s next

“The team has put in a tremendous amount of effort to tackle the many challenges that come with a new innovative design. Collaboration across Operations, Engineering, and Projects has been instrumental to make this concept a reality,” says Adam Hunt, Manager, Compression Projects. “Construction has been going quite well on the three modular compressor stations and we’ve successfully placed a few modules already.”

These compressor stations will support TC Energy’s critical role in supplying energy and serve as proof of concept for future facility builds across the company’s North American footprint.

Watch how this all unfolded in under a minute.

More information

Learn more about the 2021 NGTL System Expansion Project