Pembina plans on hosting job fairs for potential employees and contractors in North Coast communities in the future for its proposed Watson Island terminal. Contributed/Pembina photo

Pembina propane terminal FID ‘months away’ officials say

Facility on Watson Island proposed to ship 20,000 barrels of propane per day, load one vessel/week

Officials from Pembina Infrastructure and Logistics made their first public appearance in front of Prince Rupert mayor and council this past Monday, June 12 during a regular council session, and told council members that a final investment decision is “a matter of months away” for its proposed liquid propane export terminal on Watson Island.

Speaking to council were three members of a delegation from the primarily western Canadian company that travelled to the North Coast for the occasion.

Stu Taylor, senior vice-president of NGL (natural gas liquids) and natural gas facilities, Joel Zaleschuk, senior manager of business development in NGL and Tanis Fiss, senior representative for government affairs, introduced themselves to council and gave a brief overview of the $125-$175 million facility that would be located on city-owned Watson Island land, taking a portion of the former Watson Island pulp mill site, which is to be fully decommissioned this fall.

“We’ve grown dramatically over the last few years and our reason for being here and looking for opportunities for propane export is we just completed about $5 billion in capital expenditures,” said Taylor. “We’ve increased our fractionation capacity – fractionation separates the mix of hydrocarbons into its various components – all of those assets come into service in 2017 and 2018 … We’re looking for additional markets for some of those products, particularly propane.”

The team explained that the facility is smaller than a typical similar export project.

“It’s a very small, niche type of project and that’s why we think we can be successful with it,” said Zaleschuk.

“It’s smaller in size – 15,000-25,000 barrels per day of capacity. The key for us is a much smaller capital cost than traditionally what’s out there in a marine export terminal for LPG,” he said, adding that he doesn’t see the terminal as competition for other LPG or LNG projects proposed for the region, but complementary.

“The footprint within Watson Island is quite small relative to the land that’s available … we hope this presents an opportunity both for ourselves and for the city to put additional projects in,” Zaleschuk said.

A final investment decision from Pembina Infrastructure and Logistics (a subsidiary of Pembina Pipeline Corporation) is months away, said the team, but that the company must also secure the completion of various engineering studies, environmental and geotechnical work on Watson Island, inspecting the dock to ensure it can meet the project’s needs, as well as permits from the provincial and municipal governments for lands, subdivision and safety compliance. The company is in discussions with the Port of Prince Rupert and the Pacific Pilotage Authority for navigation assessments. Taylor said the company will look for an FID as early as when the engineering studies are complete during the next few months.

During operation, CN Rail would bring 28 cars to Watson Island per day, stage the rail cars on the island and through storage spheres to hold the propane under pressure. Reaching a 20,000 barrel per day threshold would load one VLGC (very large gas carrier) vessel per week. The company plans to service markets in North America, South America and possibly Asia.

“Unlike a traditional project where there’s a large operating cost to liquefy the propane below 42 C, all of that liquefaction happens as the propane is loaded onto the vessel by the marina operator,” Zaleschuk added.

Fiss dove into the rail safety history that the company boasts, which is an award-winning one, she said.

“Because what we’re proposing here at Watson Island is essentially a rail terminal we just wanted to point out the safety in regards to handling with rail … We have a relatively new fleet of cars (average age is six-years-old) We shipped almost 40,000 rail cars in 2016,” she said.

Zaleschuk added the rail car fleet fits current safety specifications in Canada and the U.S. and “are all largely brand new cars.”

The company plans to source much of its workforce and contractor and sub-contractor work from the local area, holding job fairs in the communities surrounding the project in the future, including Prince Rupert.

“We have undertaken, with the First Nations communities, a job training program. So we have made an effort recognizing that in a lot of cases, these are under-skilled employee opportunities and so we’ve brought them onto our sites and trained them on our sites and have been very successful. This would follow that same program,” said Taylor. “We believe very strongly in hiring locally,” Fiss said.

“We believe in having face-to-face mutually beneficial relationships with the local and First Nations communities and we explore all opportunities to collaborate on community projects related to health, education, training, employment and business development that works for the local community as well as the aboriginal community.”

Pembina and Prince Rupert Legacy (a subsidiary of the City of Prince Rupert) signed a letter of intent to construct the facility in mid-April. City officials have frequently cited getting Watson Island back on the city’s tax roll as a main priority for council.

Just Posted

Roy & Rosemary bring the sounds of Hollywood to Prince Rupert

The piano and violin duo perform at the Lester Centre with Cody Karey

Second reported cougar sighting near Conrad

Conservation officer said sightings in Prince Rupert not uncommon

Money does grow on trees

Sharon and Malcolm Sampson won the 2018 money tree from Cook’s Jewellers

In Our Opinion: Grinch who stole from KAPS

Prince Rupert had its very own Grinch over the holidays

Pedestrian hit by cab in crosswalk on Second Avenue

A woman was in the crosswalk in Prince Rupert when she was struck by a taxi on Jan. 17

This Week Episode 68

From inside the Northern View office in Prince Rupert we bring you all the news headlines

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Most Read