Wärtsilä, a leading global supplier of decentralised power plant solutions, has been awarded a contract to supply the power generating equipment and associated engineering for the power generation of the cabin gas plant power generation project in British Columbia, Canada.

Wärtsilä will supply three Wärtsilä 20V34SG gas engine generator sets running on natural gas, producing a combined output of over 26MW.

The power plant will provide electricity to a natural gas processing plant producing pipeline quality gas from shale formations located in the heart of the Horn River Basin, one of the most prolific shale gas deposits in North America. The power plant will run on the natural gas processed by this natural gas processing plant.

The shale gas boom taking place in Canada and the US is a fairly recent phenomenon spurred on by new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. Gas from shale deposits has become an increasingly important source of natural gas over the last decade and is viewed as a key supply source for the future. For example, in the US the shale gas discoveries and other unconventional natural gas resources are expected to provide more than 100 years of supply, resulting in stabilized natural gas pricing.

There currently is no electrical grid to provide electricity in this area of British Columbia, which makes on-site generation a necessity. Wärtsilä technology provides high reliability because of the multiple units and its proven technology. Other benefits include the excellent heat rate and lack of process water consumption.

The engine generator sets and equipment will be delivered in the 3rd quarter of 2011 and the natural gas processing plant is expected to be operational in the fall of 2012. Operating in a remote northern location near the border of British Columbia and Northwest Territories, in arctic-like climatic conditions, Wärtsilä’s reliability and extensive service capabilities will be crucial to the project’s success.

“This order represents an exciting project for Wärtsilä, utilising our highly efficient and reliable gas engines to provide power for shale gas development in Canada. The plant will be supported by Wärtsilä Services in Canada, which has over 150 people dedicated to supporting our engines,” commented Frank Donnelly, president, Wärtsilä in North America.