The assessment that efforts to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Canada have missed the boat (so to speak) are premature, argue executives for several companies pursuing plans to build gas shipment terminals on two Canadian coasts.
Multiple critics sounded a death knell for Canadian LNG after Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas abandoned plans for a massive, C$36-billion gas liquefaction and export terminal at an environmentally sensitive site near Prince Rupert, British Columbia in July. But the industry continues to show a pulse on both sides of the country.
“Despite a glut of gas around the world, rock-bottom prices, and the cancellation of facilities proposed for British Columbia, two multi-billion-dollar Nova Scotia projects appear to be ramping up,” the Canadian Press reports. Meanwhile, and defying other cancellations, a $40-billion LNG terminal proposed for Kitimat in British Columbia “is still very much alive,” says the CEO of the consortium promoting it.
One Nova Scotia proposal plans to take advantage of existing jetty infrastructure, as well as “the deepest ice-free terminal on the North American eastern seaboard” at Point Tupper, on the Strait of Canso, CP reports. “It was the site that God built for LNG,” enthused Paul MacLean, spokesperson for Bear Head LNG Corporation, the subsidiary of Australia-based Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. that is promoting the $5-billion repurposing.
For its part, Pieridae Energy Canada is promoting a competing terminal, 100 kilometres southwest of Point Tupper at Goldboro, N.S. That US$7- to $10-billion project boasts its location’s ability “to tap into the natural gas supply from the existing Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline—without the cost of building pipe to Point Tupper,” the news agency observes.
Meanwhile, LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz pushed back at reports that all of British Columbia’s gas export dreams flickered out with Petronas’ cancellation of its Pacific NorthWest project.
“I don’t believe Canada has missed that boat,” Calitz said in a speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “I actually believe B.C. will have an LNG industry, that there is societal support for an LNG industry from B.C., and [that] the LNG project can and will happen in B.C.”
Calitz added, however, that his company’s backers, a consortium of Shell Oil, Mitsubishi, Korea Gas Corporation, and PetroChina, would only proceed with a Kitimat terminal in a “competitive” tax environment.
And while British Columbia’s new NDP government has declared its opposition to the tripling of U.S.-owned Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain diluted bitumen pipeline from Edmonton to Vancouver, it appears ready to roll out a red carpet for LNG in the province’s job-strapped mid-coast region. After meeting with Calitz, newly-appointed Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall was receptive to his concerns.
“We do need to address, on a broader scale, what’s going on in the global marketplace, and is B.C. competitive as it stands right now?” Mungall told Business in Vancouver. “I’ve directed my ministry to look into that, and to begin to work with First Nations, local communities, as well as the industry.”