LNG companies provide an update on Prince Rupert projects

Steve Swaffield takes notes as Evan Saugstad, Tessa Gill and Robert Kendal listen to a question from the audience. - Shaun Thomas photo
Steve Swaffield takes notes as Evan Saugstad, Tessa Gill and Robert Kendal listen to a question from the audience.
— image credit: Shaun Thomas photo

As LNG jumps to the forefront of North Coast development, four of the biggest players in the industry spoke about their plans for Prince Rupert.

The LNG panel of the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference consisted of BG Group Canada acting president Steve Swaffield, whose company is proposing a terminal on Ridley Island, Pacific Northwest LNG head of stakeholder management Tessa Gill, whose company is developing the terminal on Lelu Island, Spectra Energy manager of Aboriginal relations and permitting Evan Saugstad, whose company's pipeline would supply gas to Lelu Island and Coastal GasLink Pipeline vice-president of Aboriginal and stakeholder relations Robert Kendel, whose company would be building the pipeline for the BG terminal.

Gill told delegates the future of the $9 billion to $11 billion project in Port Edward should be known within the next 24 months.

"We hope to make our formal submission to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency at the end of this year. With a one year process for review, we would expect a business decision to come at the end of 2014," she said, noting that up to 300 operational jobs would come with the opening of the terminal.

"The earliest we could deliver LNG to customers is 2018, but it is more likely that we would begin operations in early 2019."

Swaffield said he didn't expect a decision on the BG Terminal to come until a year later, in 2015, but said the company will be increasing its presence in the region as the project develops.

"We are planning to open an office in Prince Rupert later this year, and we expect to have a project submission available in the next few weeks," he said, noting up to 3,800 jobs would be created during terminal construction.

"Preference will be given to hiring locally, but we will need to bring in outside experts for certain positions."

Spectra Energy is still examining the route for its 850-kilometre pipeline, with consultation continuing with communities and First Nations along the route ahead of expected approval in 2015, but Saugstad said the company sees accessing the coast as a necessity for the province.

"The U.S., the traditional market for Canadian LNG, has as much if not more gas than we do and are expected to become self-sufficient in the coming years. So we are looking for new markets and will need new markets just to maintain the jobs we have in the industry now," he said.

Kendal said consultations have just begun on the 750 kilometre pipeline from Fort St. John to Prince Rupert.

"We are really motivated to expand our footprint moving forward as this really is a game changer... We're committed to making long-term commitments to the communities we work with and to B.C. as a whole," he said.

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