A rendering of the Petronas LNG terminal on Lelu Island.

A rendering of the Petronas LNG terminal on Lelu Island.

Petronas, Progress Energy moving to next stage of Lelu Island LNG terminal development

The LNG terminal proposed for Lelu Island in Port Edward is advancing into the next stage of development under a new name.

The LNG terminal proposed for Lelu Island in Port Edward is advancing into the next stage of development under a new name.

A comprehensive feasibility study for the newly dubbed Pacific Northwest LNG terminal has been completed and proponents Petronas and Progress Energy are carrying on to the pre front-end engineering design phase to create a clearer picture of the scope, timelines, cost and workforce requirements. The company is hoping to submit the project description to the federal government early next year.

“It is a big project, a big undertaking, and we’re quite pleased to complete the feasibility study and move on to the next stage. The feasibility study commenced in the fall of 2011, so it has been about a year in progress,” said Progress Energy president and CEO Mike Culbert.

And while Petronas awaits word on a bid to purchase Progress Energy, a bid that was denied by the federal government earlier this year, it has sweetened the pot by promising to build a bigger and more costly plant should the takeover go ahead. Without the purchase the two companies plan to build a terminal capable of exporting 7.6 million tonnes per year, but if the acquisition is approved the company will increase the throughput to 12 million tonnes of LNG per year.

According to Culbert, the difference has to do with the amount of resources dedicated to the project.

“What we have now is the current relationship between Progress and Petronas, which uses the North Montney property. That includes about 20 per cent of Progress’ land…With a successful acquisition, we have the ability to include 100 per cent of the land possession of Progress Energy,” he said.

“We see the markets are there to take the amount of additional LNG being incrementally proposed.”

The investment in the project is expected to be between $9 billion and $11 billion depending on how big the terminal is. A final investment decision is expected in late 2014 with the first shipment of LNG in 2018. The terminal would create up to 300 direct jobs and up to 3,500 jobs during the construction phase.