Business

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission vice-president says time is a factor in developing LNG export

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission vice-president John Dunn outlines the project to members of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce at a Jan. 22 luncheon. - Shaun Thomas photo
Prince Rupert Gas Transmission vice-president John Dunn outlines the project to members of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce at a Jan. 22 luncheon.
— image credit: Shaun Thomas photo

TransCanada is following an aggressive timeline when it comes to the construction of its Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project, but company vice-president John Dunn said time is certainly of the essence.

Growing demand in Asia, particularly in China, means an additional 22 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of LNG will be needed. While there may be approximately 10 projects proposed to deliver B.C. LNG to Asia, competition is coming from developed sites along the Gulf of Mexico and proposals in countries like Australia.

The project was announced in January, 2013, and Dunn said the goal is to have a final investment decision on the 900-kilometre pipeline to serve Pacific NorthWest LNG's Lelu Island terminal by the end of this year.

"The longer it takes to make a final investment decision [for an export terminal] in B.C., the less likely it is that B.C. will serve a market. Others will step forward to provide LNG. That is not something I say as a person in the industry, that is just the reality," he said.

"Wherever you are on the ideological spectrum, the reality is that Asia's energy demands are going to be met. The question for B.C. is if we want to be a part of it and receive some of the benefit."

Despite the tight timeline, Dunn said there is still much work to be done before the application is submitted for an environmental assessment.

"By January we had finalized the eastern and central parts of the route. What we will be finalizing in the next few months is the marine alternatives ... shortly we hope to land on one marine route for B.C. Environmental Assessment Office," he said.

"The EAO application will be approximately 10,000 pages, so you can imagine all of the work that goes into it. This costs hundreds of millions of dollars, so we are investing significantly already.

Construction of the pipeline, which will utilize 48" piping, is expected to employ 5,000 people over a four-year period. But Dunn made no illusions of many jobs following the burying of the pipe.

"Natural gas pipelines, once built, neither do they impose a burden on the landscape because the are buried ... nor do they create a lot of long term employment," he said, noting the pipeline will be built by simultaneously by different companies in different parts of the province.

"The reality is it doesn't take a lot to maintain it."

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