Following the death of Petronas’ Pacific NorthWest LNG project on Lelu Island in July the focus has shifted on where the other liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects stand.
The Northern View reached out to each of the project’s proposed for Prince Rupert and received a response from two of the seven. Any updates we found were on the project website or from the provincial LNG project website.
The project that is edging closer to receiving all the necessary government approvals. On Aug. 21, the regulatory manager of the project requested to halt the environmental assessment process to address outstanding questions. The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office approved of the request on Aug. 23, and on Day 142 the process was suspended. The environmental assessment will continue once Aurora has submitted updated information needed to support the assessment of the project.*
The company exploring the project for Digby Island is Nexen Energy, a subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd., INPEX Corp and JGC Corp. The project would handle 24 million metric tonnes per year. It received its licence from the National Energy Board on October 2014 to export for 25 years after its first export. The licence expires 10 years from the date of approval.
Updates for the project are on the company’s website. Starting mid-July, Aurora LNG demolished decrepit buildings from the former marine base in Casey Cove on Digby Island. The work was expected to take five to six weeks.
“Once we have determined it is safe to begin work, the team will begin demolition using excavators barged over from Prince Rupert,” said Dan Murray, Project Manager for Aurora LNG on the website. “We will only be removing the structures that are above ground, and the waste materials will be loaded into containers and taken to a qualified landfill in Alberta.”
If the project moves ahead, pending a provincial envrionmental approval, the company’s proposed timeline states construction would start some time between 2020 to 2024.
WCC LNG Ltd.
Every month, the company, which is a partnership between ExxonMobil Canada Ltd. and Imperial Oil Resources Limited, opens its community office in 101 First Avenue East for three days and representatives provide information on the project.
This month, the office saw more traffic than usual, following the cancellation of Pacific NorthWest LNG’s project in July. This project would be on Lot. 444 inside Tuck Inlet and within the city limits of Prince Rupert.
Updates to the project are visible from the latest renderings. Initially, the facility proposed five 200,000 cubic metre onshore LNG tanks, but recent images show four tanks.
“Our engineering team refined the project design, including the overall layout, marine berth concept, and material offloading facility. Focus areas for this work were reducing environmental impact and cost reduction. The updated artist rendering represents the results of this work,” said spokesperson, Aaron Stryk, for Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. and ExxonMobil Canada Ltd.
The project would initially export 15 million tonnes per year with the potential to expand to 30 million tonnes. The National Energy Board provided a licence in October 2016 to export up to 40 years after the first export of LNG. The company has submitted its pre-application to the federal and provincial environmental assessments.
But planning for the WCC LNG project is in the early stages, Stryk said in an email. “A final investment decision, which is not anticipated in the near-term, will be based on a range of factors, including regulatory approvals, investment climate and business considerations.”
The timeline has been extended and the company’s pace of fieldwork studies and activities has slowed down. The expected date of construction is 2020 or later.
Grassy Point LNG
The Northern View received a response from the company that stated all updates were available on the website. Following an open house in March 2016 the project seems to be at a standstill.
In 2014, the Australian company, Woodside Energy Ltd., began geotechnical surveys on Grassy Point, near Prince Rupert. The National Energy Board granted a licence to export 20 million tonnes of LNG a year for up to 25 years in 2015. The project is exploring whether it will design an onshore or nearshore facility, and it has already has submitted a pre-application for the environmental assessment process.
NewTimes Energy Ltd.
The company plans to have three floating LNG trains at the facility near Prince Rupert to export 12 million tonnes of natural gas a year. In May 2016, the National Energy Board approved of the project’s export licence for 25 years. The Vancouver-based company has not submitted an application for an environmental assessment.
This project, led by the Nisga’a Nation, is proposed for north of Prince Rupert near the Nass River. The facility may be floating or onshore based on Nisga’a territory. More concrete details for the proposed project have yet to be revealed and it has yet to submit an export licence application with the National Energy Board.
Orca LNG Ltd.
Based in the Prince Rupert area, this project would export 24 million metric tonnes of natural gas to Asia through its floating facility, which would consist of six floating liquefaction storage and offloading vessels. Orca LNG Ltd. only provides an email on its website for contact, and no other information. In May 2016, the National Energy Board approved of its export licence for 25 years. The company has yet to submit an application for an environmental assessment.
Watson Island LNG
A small project in comparison to the others, the Watson Island LNG Corporation plans to export 1 million tonnes of natural gas a year. The City of Prince Rupert entered an exclusivity agreement with the company in July 2014 to repurpose the former pulp mill site.
As the LNG fever cools in Prince Rupert the possiblity of a massive LNG facilty on the North Coast is closer to the mark in Kitimat.
In Bish Cove, near Kitimat, Chevron Canada Ltd. and Woodside Canada plan to build a facility that will export 10 million tonnes of natural gas a year. The facility will be built on leased from the Haisla Nation.
With approvals from the province and federal environmental offices, and the National Energy Board’s approval for a 20 year export licence — the project is good to go once its investors makes a final investment decision.
While Shell Canada pulled out of its project in Prince Rupert, it continued to pursue its location in Kitimat. With a 40 year licence to export 24 million tonnes per year from the National Energy Board and provincial and federal environmental approvals the project — which will cost between $25-$40 billion — is waiting for the company’s final investment decision. The decision was expected for 2016 but was delayed in July last year citing global industry challenges.