Shoreline on Tuck Inlet where ExxonMobil proposes to locate barge-based marine offloading facility for LNG tankers.

LNG plans continue in 2015 despite oil slump

ExxonMobil project proposes $15-25 billion project to start in 2017, using up to five barges for export from Prince Rupert

The shakeout of liquefied natural gas proposals for B.C. continues, with  ExxonMobil’s large-scale project for Prince Rupert moving ahead and smaller projects changing or withdrawing plans.

ExxonMobil and its Canadian subsidiary Imperial Oil have filed a detailed description with B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office, planning for a city-owned site on Tuck Inlet north of Prince Rupert Harbour.

One of the larger of 18 B.C. proposals, West Coast Canada LNG (WCC LNG) proposes up to five floating barges for LNG loading with onshore support facilities, and an estimated capital cost of $15-25 billion. WCC LNG plans to start construction by 2017 and be in service by 2024.

WCC LNG sorted through a half dozen sites in the Kitimat and Prince Rupert area, where the larger of B.C.’s 18 current LNG export proposals are also claiming sites. Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman says 2015 is when the LNG industry begins to take shape, despite a slump in oil prices and rising competition from U.S. and other gas producers.

“New drilling activity in our upstream sector demonstrates investors remain confident in B.C.’s long-term natural gas potential,” Coleman said in a New Year commentary released last week. “One of our province’s largest Crown land sales in history occurred near the end of 2014, with industry contributing more than $209 million for exploration right alone.”

Proponents of Aurora LNG Grassy Point near Prince Rupert withdrew that application to start the year, focusing on another site at Digby Island.

Also withdrawn is the Farrell Creek raw gas processing plant north of Hudson’s Hope, a project taken over by Malaysian-owned Progress Energy. Progress is a partner with PETRONAS in Pacific Northwest LNG at Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, with its investment decision postponed indefinitely late last year amid changing global energy supply and demand.

Woodfibre LNG near Squamish is another small-scale project moving ahead, with its application for B.C. environmental assessment accepted at the end of 2014.

The public comment period closed for another large-scale proposal, the Shell-led LNG Canada proposal for Kitimat.


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