TC Energy Corp. announced it has signed option agreements to sell a 10 per cent stake in the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline Limited Partnership to Indigenous communities along the pipeline’s route.

Coastal Gaslink is a 670-kilometre project being built to deliver natural gas to the $40-billion LNG Canada facility that’s being developed in Kitimat, B.C. The pipeline will have a daily capacity of 2.1 billion cubic feet. TC Energy (then known as TransCanada) was awarded the contract to build Coastal GasLink in 2012.

The pipeline, which is crucial to Canada’s liquefied natural gas ambitions, has been a lightning rod for controversy. It attracted protesters who are opposed to its development, and it has also faced cost overruns. In a news release last month, TC Energy said it’s in “active and constructive discussions” with LNG Canada to resolve a dispute over who will foot the bill for escalating costs. At the time, the company said 59 per cent of the pipeline had been built.

“For many of us, this marks the first time that our Nations have been included as owners in a major natural resource project that is crossing our territories. This deal is important because it demonstrates the value First Nations can bring as true partners in major projects,” Chief Corrina Leween of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, which is one of 16 nations that signed up for the equity stake in Coastal GasLink, said in a release Wednesday. 

TC Energy said the option can be exercised after the pipeline enters into service, pending the consent of LNG Canada.