A view of Casey Cove, from a beach on Dodge Cove, where a section of Nexen’s proposed Aurora LNG project will be located. Photo by Shannon Lough A view of Casey Cove, from a beach on Dodge Cove, where a section of Nexen’s proposed Aurora LNG project will be located. Photo by Shannon Lough

Aurora LNG backs out

The liquefied natural gas project proposed for Digby Island has ended its run

Another liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has pulled the plug on its plans for the North Coast.

Aurora LNG has spend four years exploring the possibility of shipping LNG from a site on Digby Island to Asian markets — and on Sept. 14 the project partners announced their decision to end their feasibility study.

“Through this feasibility study, Aurora LNG has determined that the current macro-economic environment does not currently support the partners’ vision of developing a large LNG business at the proposed Digby Island site,” the press release states.

The project was a partnership between Nexen Energy, a subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd., and INPEX Gas British Columbia. The announcement comes on the heels of Petronas ending its Pacific NorthWest LNG project on Lelu Island in Port Edward on July 25, which also cited market conditions as to why it would not proceed.

After Petronas fell through, Aurora LNG had moved through the environmental assessment process further than the other six LNG projects proposed for the Prince Rupert area. The project was on Day 142 of the 180 day B.C. environmental assessment process when the regulatory manager of the project requested in August to suspend the assessment until Aurora had addressed outstanding questions.

The project was expected to cost up to $20-billion and proposed to handle 24 million metric tonnes of LNG per year, and had received its licence from the National Energy Board in October 2014.

This summer, Aurora LNG demolished the old coast guard base on their site at Casey Cove on Digby Island with the intention of removing the safety hazard. The deteriorated buildings were destroyed and waste was sent to a landfill in Alberta.

“While disappointed in this outcome, Aurora LNG is proud of its work in northwest British Columbia over the past three years and the relationships it has built with local community members, Indigenous groups, stakeholders and government. The partners’ are committed to a responsible and orderly conclusion of their activities in the Prince Rupert region,” the release states.

Many residents of Dodge Cove are breathing a sigh of relief at the news that Aurora LNG will not proceed. The community, with approximately 30 full-time residents, would have been less than a kilometre away from the terminal and residents have spent the past few years raising concerns about the health, environment and noise impacts this project would have.

Lou Allison is a long-term Dodge Cove resident who has been challenging the project. “Of course we’re relieved. We feel like a huge weight has gone off us,” she said, adding that they work they did on the environmental assessment process has taught them how industrial development gets done in Canada, and why there is a need to improve the process.

RELATED: WHICH LNG PROJECTS ARE LEFT IN PRINCE RUPERT

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