The Nisga’a Nation in British Columbia is teaming up with seven natural gas producers to propose a C$10-billion liquefied natural gas development, claiming the project will bring its emissions to net-zero within three years of starting operations in 2027 or 2028.
The floating liquefaction facility for the 12-million-tonne-per-year Ksi Lisims LNG project would be located at Wil Milit, on the northern tip of Pearse Island, near the Nisga’a village of Gingolx, Rockies LNG Partners said in a release Monday. Ksi Lisims means “from the Nass River” in the Nisga’a language.
“Attracting an economic base to the Nass Valley has long been a priority for the Nisga’a Nation,” said Nisga’a Nation President Eva Clayton. “This is why, for close to a decade, our Nation has worked to attract a world-leading LNG project to our treaty lands, and why we are proud to commence the formal regulatory process for our project, Ksi Lisims LNG.”
The development would produce 4,000 construction jobs, and the community hopes to generate $55 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits over the course of the project, which will be subject to both federal and provincial regulatory processes.
Project partners include Birchcliff Energy Ltd. of Calgary and Western LNG LLC of Houston. The group filed a 135-page project document with the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office July 2, the Globe and Mail reports, and expects to make a final decision on whether to invest in the project in 2024.
The partners’ release says the project will be supplied with fracked gas from northeastern B.C. via one of two pipelines, one run by TC Energy and the other by Enbridge, both of which have received regulatory approval. It claims the project will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 million tonnes per year, or 1.3 gigatonnes over its 30-year operating life, by replacing coal and oil in Asian markets. [If it can actually reach those markets—Ed.]
“Ksi Lisims LNG’s pathway to net-zero carbon emissions includes the use of renewable BC Hydro power in combination with strong monitoring and measurement, energy efficiency, purchase of carbon offsets, and potential carbon capture and storage,” the release says. “Ksi Lisims LNG is being designed to have a low level of carbon emissions, which reduces the amount of offsets required to achieve net-zero.”
“The nation is very much concerned with the ever-changing climate,” Clayton told CBC. “We want to be able to assist with providing low-carbon energy.”
But Ksi Lisims would process natural gas supplies from a region where fracking operations were reporting less than half of their climate-busting methane emissions as recently as 2018, and are still emitting 1.6 to 2.2 times more methane than federal estimates. Methane is 84 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over the 20-year span that will be most crucial in the effort to get the climate emergency under control.
The project announcement landed on the same day that Chevron Corporation admitted that its highly-touted, US$3-billion carbon capture and storage facility at the Gorgon LNG project Australia had failed to meet its targets. The colossal fossil “is now seeking a deal with Western Australian regulators on how to make up for millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide it failed to store,” RenewEconomy writes, in a post republished by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
“The storage project is supposed to be capable of storing at least 80% of the carbon dioxide produced by the Gorgon LNG facility, or around four million tonnes a year,” the news story states. “The storage was one of the key conditions for state government approval.” But the CCS unit was delayed several years after Gorgon went into production, then encountered serious operational problems after it finally started up.
Meanwhile, the CBC report picks up some initial skepticism about viability of another big, new LNG project, in a province where many have been proposed, then cancelled.
“The long-term future isn’t LNG, it’s cleaner fuels,” said Clean Energy Canada Executive Director Merran Smith, pointing to hydrogen’s emergence as a competitor for LNG.
“It is a big project. It’s a lot of money. But will the economics be there for it in the long run?” asked RBN Energy natural gas analyst Martin King. “That’s the ultimate arbiter of everything that happens in building these projects—will it meet economic thresholds?”