Representatives from Spectra Energy were in Prince Rupert on Wednesday as the company begins an initial consultation phase about the proposed LNG pipeline to Prince Rupert.
The visit by Pipeline Vice-president Rob Whitwham and Community Coordinator Evan Saugstad comes the day after Spectra president Doug Bloom held a massive telephone town hall with people from across northern BC. According to Whitwham, the company views consultation as key despite the very preliminary state of the pipeline.
“We’ve been doing a lot of internal work on the corridor we’re proposing to bring LNG to Prince Rupert, but at Spectrum our strategy has been and continues to be starting engagement early. We think you need to set up the project properly at the very beginning…The key is early engagement, listening to people and seeing how best to alter or proceed with the project,” he said, noting that feedback so far has been good.
“I’m delighted with how positive the response has been. We’re in the early days and don’t expect it will be a cake walk by any means, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how positive the reception has been.”
Right now Spectra is looking at three possible routes for the pipeline, with the split being around the Cranberry Junction. One of the lines is entirely on land while the other two include marine pipelines, something Whitwham says the company is very experienced at doing. Regardless of which route is chosen, the route will be mostly in the wilderness and will not be running near many municipalities.
Spectra has signed a partnership with the BG Group, who are proposing an LNG export terminal on Ridley Island, that would dedicate 100 per cent of the capacity of the pipeline to the terminal.
“We think we’ve found an excellent partner in the BG Group, who are working very hard on the terminal. It is up to Spectra to deliver a permitted pipeline for construction, with the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed, by the end of 2014,” explained Whitwham.
However, if for any reason the BG Group proposal doesn’t come to fruition it doesn’t mean the idea of the pipeline is completely forgotten.
“This is more than a pipeline, it will be a big part of the BC economy in the future…We’re at a point now where the US has enough gas that they don’t need to import from BC, so this is opening new markets,” said Saugstad.
“Our business is natural gas infrastructure. We’re marketing Spectra’s experience in BC and the world to anyone who is looking at natural gas,” added Whitwham.
To provide more information about the project and spur on discussion, the company has started a website at www.energyforbc.ca.
“We’re going to put a lot, or all we can, on that website. Things like data sheets, questions and answers and more,” said Saugstad.
“This website will be built up over time.”