British Columbia has launched an environmental review for a new, C$150-million marine terminal to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a 48-year-old FortisBC plant on Tilbury Island, in the south arm of the Fraser River.
A 45-day public review period for the project is set to begin April 2, industry newsletter JWN Energy reports. The terminal would have annual capacity of three million tonnes of LNG per year, and receive 69 bunkering barges and 68 LNG carriers per year.
“The company behind the project, WesPac Midstream Vancouver, plans to build a temporary floating bunkering berth until a permanent one is built, sometime in 2022,” JWN writes. “Once in operation, it would have one berth for one LNG carrier, and a berth for smaller LNG bunkering barges. In addition to a domestic bunkering market, WesPac expects there will also be LNG export opportunities, with Asia being the main market.”
“Bunkering” is the process of using LNG to power ships at sea, and WesPac wants the temporary terminal in place by 2020 to meet demand triggered by the equivocal new sulphur emission caps introduced by the International Marine Organization (IMO) in 2018. “LNG is one of the alternatives that are being adopted by shippers, so we want to be ready for that market,” said project manager Peter Gallenberger.
“The world is turning to natural gas as an energy alternative to coal and oil,” Gallenberger told Rigzone. “Exporting LNG through the Tilbury Pacific jetty will help support the environmental goals of countries that lack Canada’s wealth of energy options, while also helping the shipping industry as it shifts from bunker fuel to natural gas.”
But “even without the new IMO regulations, a domestic market for LNG for the marine sector is already developing,” JWN states. “Seaspan and BC Ferries have been moving some of their ferries to LNG, and it’s a market that is expected to continue to expand.” Construction of the permanent terminal will involve dredging in the south arm of the Fraser. JWN says the environmental assessment process is expected to take about nine months.