Calgary-based Pieridae Energy Ltd. has missed its June 30 deadline for a decision on whether to go ahead with its controversial Goldboro liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Nova Scotia, stating in a release Friday that “cost pressures and time constraints due to COVID-19 have made building the current version of the LNG Project impractical.”
The release says the company “will now assess options and analyse strategic alternatives that could make an LNG Project more compatible with the current environment,” while concentrating on oil and gas properties it owns in Alberta.
Pieridae did not say in as many words that it is abandoning the Goldboro project. But The Energy Mix has learned that phones at its Halifax office were disconnected as of Friday, and the office itself appeared to be abandoned that day. After the July 2 release was issued, External Relations Director James Millar was unavailable, an auto-reply on his email stating he’ll be out of the office until July 19.
Millar didn’t reply to an email and voicemail seeking to confirm whether the Halifax office was closed. But the phone greeting on Pieridae’s Calgary switchboard still said the company is “poised to be the first Canadian company to market LNG off the East Coast to the globe”.
In the months leading up to the June 30 deadline, Pieridae was pushing hard for a C$925-million federal subsidy to make the project viable, and threatening legal action against five signatories to an open letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Iain Rankin, and other elected officials to reject the plan. The threat of a SLAPP suit prompted the Quebec Environmental Law Centre to step up in defence of Environnement Vert Plus, one of the groups Pieridae had targeted.
But in the end, federal MP Sean Fraser (L-Central Nova) said Ottawa never received the subsidy request. “To my knowledge, there is not a formal application that has been submitted,” he told CBC last Tuesday. He also expressed concern “about the long-term future of certain fossil fuels” given the rise of renewable energy options, the national broadcaster adds.
“We’re trying very hard to move away from the use of taxpayers’ money to increase fossil fuel production,” he said.
Natural Resources Canada spokesperson Ian Cameron added that Pieridae has made no formal application to build or reconfigure the pipelines it would need to move gas from Alberta to the proposed Nova Scotia terminal. Fraser said that paperwork would be subject to “a couple of years” of review if it were ever submitted.
The Globe and Mail says Pieridae does have a 20-year contract to sell 5.2 million tonnes of LNG per year to German utility Uniper SE. But climate hawks who’ve been fighting the Goldboro project still took a victory lap last Wednesday as the deadline for the investment decision lapsed.
“We hope this project stays as unloved as it is now,” Ken Summers of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition (NOFRAC) said in a release. “Goldboro LNG is a climate change train wreck waiting to happen. It would turn backwards Nova Scotia’s progress in greenhouse gas reduction. And the increased demand it would create for climate-busting hydraulic fracturing would double the problem.”
“I’m glad the federal government did not act on Pieridae’s request for nearly a billion dollars, and I hope it never does,” said Robin Tress, climate and social justice campaigner at the Council of Canadians. “It is critical that our governments stop supporting and subsidizing fossil fuel energy projects like Goldboro LNG. Instead, governments must invest immediately in renewables and energy efficiency, and in creating a more fair economy based on that shift in our energy system.”