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Share a dataset: DuckDB -> BigQuery

In previous how-to guides you used the local stack to create and run your pipeline. This saved you the headache of setting up cloud account, credentials and often also money. Our choice for local "warehouse" is duckdb, fast, feature rich and working everywhere. However, at some point you want to move to production or share the results with your colleagues. The local duckdb file is not sufficient for that! Let's move a dataset for API we have already to BigQuery:

1. Replace the "destination" argument with "bigquery"

import dlt
from chess import chess

if __name__ == "__main__" :
pipeline = dlt.pipeline(
# get data for a few famous players
data = chess(
data=['magnuscarlsen', 'rpragchess'],
load_info =

And that's it regarding the code modifications! If you run the script, dlt will create identical dataset you had in duckdb but in BigQuery.

2. Enable access to BigQuery and obtain credentials

Please follow those steps to enable dlt to write data to BigQuery.

3. Add credentials to secrets.toml

Please add the following section to your secrets.toml file, use the credentials obtained from the previous step:

location = "US"

project_id = "project_id" # please set me up!
private_key = "private_key" # please set me up!
client_email = "client_email" # please set me up!

4. Run the pipeline again


Head on to the next section if you see exceptions!

5. Troubleshoot exceptions

Credentials Missing: ConfigFieldMissingException

You'll see this exception if dlt cannot find your BigQuery credentials. In the exception below all of them ('project_id', 'private_key', 'client_email') are missing. The exception gives you also the list of all lookups for configuration performed - here we explain how to read such list.

dlt.common.configuration.exceptions.ConfigFieldMissingException: Following fields are missing: ['project_id', 'private_key', 'client_email'] in configuration with spec GcpServiceAccountCredentials
for field "project_id" config providers and keys were tried in following order:
In Environment Variables key CHESS__DESTINATION__BIGQUERY__CREDENTIALS__PROJECT_ID was not found.
In Environment Variables key CHESS__DESTINATION__CREDENTIALS__PROJECT_ID was not found.

The most common cases for the exception:

  1. The secrets are not in secrets.toml at all.
  2. The are placed in wrong section. For example the fragment below will not work:
    [destination.bigquery] # 'credentials' missed
    project_id = "project_id"
  3. You run the pipeline script from the different folder from which it is saved. For example python chess_demo/ will run the script from chess_demo folder but the current working directory is folder above. This prevents dlt from finding chess_demo/.dlt/secrets.toml and filling-in credentials.

Placeholders still in secrets.toml

Here BigQuery complain that the format of the private_key is incorrect. Practically this most often happens if you forgot to replace the placeholders in secrets.toml with real values:

<class 'dlt.destinations.exceptions.DestinationConnectionError'>
Connection with BigQuerySqlClient to dataset name games_data failed. Please check if you configured the credentials at all and provided the right credentials values. You can be also denied access or your internet connection may be down. The actual reason given is: No key could be detected.

BigQuery not enabled

You must enable BigQuery API.

<class 'google.api_core.exceptions.Forbidden'>
403 POST BigQuery API has not been used in project 364286133232 before or it is disabled. Enable it by visiting then retry. If you enabled this API recently, wait a few minutes for the action to propagate to our systems and retry.

Location: EU
Job ID: a5f84253-3c10-428b-b2c8-1a09b22af9b2
[{'@type': '', 'links': [{'description': 'Google developers console API activation', 'url': ''}]}, {'@type': '', 'reason': 'SERVICE_DISABLED', 'domain': '', 'metadata': {'service': '', 'consumer': 'projects/364286133232'}}]

Lack of permissions to create jobs

Add BigQuery Job User as described in the destination page.

<class 'google.api_core.exceptions.Forbidden'>
403 POST Access Denied: Project bq-walkthrough: User does not have permission in project bq-walkthrough.

Location: EU
Job ID: c1476d2c-883c-43f7-a5fe-73db195e7bcd

Lack of permissions to query/write data

Add BigQuery Data Editor as described in the destination page.

<class 'dlt.destinations.exceptions.DatabaseTransientException'>
403 Access Denied: Table bq-walkthrough:games_data._dlt_loads: User does not have permission to query table bq-walkthrough:games_data._dlt_loads, or perhaps it does not exist in location EU.

Location: EU
Job ID: 299a92a3-7761-45dd-a433-79fdeb0c1a46

Lack of billing / BigQuery in sandbox mode

dlt does not support BigQuery when project has no billing enabled. If you see a stack trace where following warning appears:

<class 'dlt.destinations.exceptions.DatabaseTransientException'>
403 Billing has not been enabled for this project. Enable billing at DML queries are not allowed in the free tier. Set up a billing account to remove this restriction.


2023-06-08 16:16:26,769|[WARNING]|8096|dlt||complete_jobs:198|Job for players_games_83b8ac9e98_4_jsonl retried in load 1686233775.932288 with message {"error_result":{"reason":"billingNotEnabled","message":"Billing has not been enabled for this project. Enable billing at Table expiration time must be less than 60 days while in sandbox mode."},"errors":[{"reason":"billingNotEnabled","message":"Billing has not been enabled for this project. Enable billing at Table expiration time must be less than 60 days while in sandbox mode."}],"job_start":"2023-06-08T14:16:26.850000Z","job_end":"2023-06-08T14:16:26.850000Z","job_id":"players_games_83b8ac9e98_4_jsonl"}

you must enable the billing.

This demo works on codespaces. Codespaces is a development environment available for free to anyone with a Github account. You'll be asked to fork the demo repository and from there the README guides you with further steps.
The demo uses the Continue VSCode extension.

Off to codespaces!


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