Two First Nations propose BC LNG plants

As Lax Kw’alaams entrepreneur Chris Sankey says: LNG and resource development can mean “a massive transition” from poverty to good incomes for Indigenous people and communities.

Looking to that kind of transition now are two First Nations in British Columbia, who propose development of LNG processing plants and export terminals on their territories.

The latest is the Nisga’a Nation, which is taking the first steps to look into a big project with a floating plant on tidewater in the Nass Valley region.

Says Eva Clayton, the nation’s president: “Attracting an economic base to the Nass Valley has been a major priority for the Nisga’a Nation, especially since the coming into force of the Nisga’a Final Agreement.

“This is why, for close to a decade, the Nation has tried to attract LNG investment to one of our world-class marine sites, and why in 2014 the Nisga’a Nation entered into a formal agreement with PRGT for the construction of a gas pipeline across Nisga’a Lands.”

(PRGT is the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line, a 900-km project originally proposed by Trans Canada Energy, now TC Energy, to serve the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG facility near Prince Rupert. Primary permits were issued; but the PNW plan was eventually scrapped in 2017.)

Clayton says the Nisga’a now are working with Western LNG (a Texas-based LNG developer) and Rockies LNG Partners (a group of Canadian gas producers) to advance an LNG project called Ksi Lisims LNG.

The proposed location for the project is on Portland Inlet, near the Nass River, north of Prince Rupert, and 15 km from the village of Gingolx.

The Nisga’a talk at this preliminary point of producing some 12 million tonnes of LNG per year, of 4,000 construction jobs and of “significant benefits over the project for Indigenous peoples, local governments and Canadians from coast to coast.”

As well, the nation says, the project would be a net-zero operation, and “Ksi Lisims LNG can reduce global GHG emissions by 50 million tonnes per year.”

That 12 million tonnes of LNG from Ksi Lisims would compare with 14 million tonnes a year from the first phase of LNG Canada (which could then add more through expansion); up to 18 million tonnes from Kitimat LNG; 2.1 million tonnes from Woodfibre LNG (which has a working partnership with the Squamish Nation); and 3-4 million tonnes from Cedar LNG.

Cedar LNG is a project planned by the Haisla Nation, with a floating LNG plant on Kitimat Arm, Douglas Channel. It would get its natural gas from the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is being built to feed the LNG Canada plant that is under construction at Kitimat.

“The project is a key element of the Haisla Nation economic and social development strategy and will further advance reconciliation by allowing Haisla Nation to—for the first time ever—directly own and participate in a major industrial development in its territory.”

Cedar LNG’s planning is more advanced than that of the Nisga’a, in that the Haisla have a federal export licence, and submitted in 2019 a detailed project description to federal and provincial governments.

Ottawa has agreed that BC will conduct the required environmental assessment for Cedar LNG but, at this point in a pandemic year, no hearings have yet been scheduled.

The Haisla have a partnership agreement with Pacific Traverse Energy, a Vancouver based energy infrastructure development company and Delfin Midstream, an LNG export development company specializing in low-cost floating LNG technology, with offices in Houston TX and Oslo, Norway.

The First Nations LNG Alliance notes that both projects bear their First Nations neighbours in mind.

Nisga’a president Clayton says: “We have also been working on the First Nations Climate Initiative with some of our neighbours, in an effort to define what types of projects can help alleviate poverty while also contribution to global emissions reductions.”

The Haisla say: “We strongly believe, and have seen proven, that our success will also benefit our neighbours, be they other area First Nations, the surrounding communities in Kitimat and Terrace, or in greater BC and Canada.”

And Crystal Smith, elected chief councillor of the Haisla (and chair of our Alliance) makes this offer to the Nisga’a: “Haisla Nation Council looks forward to continuing our collaborative working relationship with Nisga’a Lisims Government and would like to extend an open invitation to them if they would ever like to speak to us about our experiences, in support of their economic development ambitions.”

(Posted here 03 April 2021)