Business

Pacific NorthWest LNG ready to file assessment

Pacific NorthWest LNG expects to submit its environmental assessment for the Lelu Island terminal in the next two weeks and remains on track for a final investment decision at the end of the year.

The submission of the environmental assessment is something Pacific NorthWest LNG president Greg Kist called a “critical milestone” in being one of the first to market.

“That 2018 to 2020 time frame is a really important time line. That FID at the end of the year is very important to us. An approximate four-year construction window puts you into 2018 or early 2019 ... we have an outlook that there is a window between 2018 and 2020. It doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t be successful beyond 2020, it’s just you will be in a more competitive market,” he said, noting the company sees a lot of support for the project in the

region.

“With open houses and public feedback period, there is a real desire to see this development here ... we certainly have, through our open houses and one-on-one meetings with  folks, a high level of acceptance.”

In addition to support from the North Coast, Kist said the project is garnering international interest due to its proximity to market and how the planning is developing. Pacific NorthWest LNG already has partners in Japan and Brunei, with talks ongoing with other potential partners, and customers are waiting to commit to using the gas being shipped from Lelu Island.

“When LNG contracts get signed they are 20 year contracts. Japan has asked us if we have 30 years of supply, if we have 40 years of supply and if we have 60 years of supply. Those are the kind of questions the Japanese are asking: Are we reliable for a longer period of time than the 20 year contract?” he said.

“That should be attractive to people because now you’re talking multi-generational opportunities. That’s really what an LNG facility is really all about.”

The project that will be presented to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office will be quite different from what was initially on the books based on feedback gathered during the public comment period.

“We initially started out with the idea of the bridge coming from the mainland onto the island. The first thing that came back is, ‘well we can’t navigate a gillnetter under that’. Ok, well how do we fix that. The first thing we looked at is bridge height and how tall it has to be. We made the necessary adjustments and we now have an 11 metre clearance for the bridge,” he said.

“It was the same concept with the jetty trestle. We heard a lot of feedback about navigation, so part of that trestle design near Lelu is to be 11 metres above high tide as well so it allows gillnetters to traverse through that area. Part of that is Transport Canada has to decide whether they will allow boaters under that.”

Should the terminal proceed, Pacific NorthWest LNG is expecting more people will be needed to fill positions than first projected. In total, the company now expects 4,000 people will be needed during the construction phase and an additional 330 full time operational jobs will come with the terminal’s startup.

“Ideally for us a significant portion of the workers would come the community and from the region. That would be the ideal thing. From our perspective you know the community, you’re part of the community, you’ll stay in the community. I think we’d be fooling ourselves to say 100 per cent of the workers would come from here, but I think we want to ensure we capture as much of the local community as we can and attract them to our jobs,” said Kist.

“That will be a very important and critical aspect of it ... we have to figure out how we can find the people interested in those jobs.”

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