Port Edward LNG eyes construction start

Port Edward LNG hopes to start construction in fall on its small-scale LNG-for-export plant, 9 km south of Prince Rupert.

CEO Chris Hilliard told the Alliance board: “Whether it happens in the fall or whether it drags out a little bit into winter, we will finally break ground and get into our two-year construction cycle. So it’s an exciting time, it’s a frantic time.”

Port Edward LNG could produce up to 300 tonnes of LNG a day, compared with up to 14 million tonnes by Phase One of the LNG Canada project at Kitimat.

“If LNG Canada is a walk-in freezer, Port Edward LNG is a bar fridge. We’re tiny. We’re about one percent the size of LNGC. It’s not bespoke, as an LNG Canada might be. Rather, we’re using off-the-shelf technology, basically ‘plug and play.’

“Having said that, it’s still LNG, so it still represents a $450-million project. So, it’s not small in that sense, but it’s also smaller in another way in that . . . our social impact is smaller. Perhaps ‘more manageable’ would be a good way of describing it.”

Hilliard said his construction timeline is about two years. “And about half of that is site preparation, because Prince Rupert and area is kind of full of hills and ocean and we’ve got to turn a little bit of hill into flat ground so that’s complicated.

“And then we put a small plant on, what amounts to 12 acres. So, again, in terms of size, this is very small. Our workforce through the total construction is probably about 125 people and our workforce permanently is somewhere between 50 and 60 if you include trucking jobs.

“So, it’s a very different scale than the LNG proponents that you’re used to talking to, whether that’s LNGC or Cedar or Woodfibre or Ksi Lisims, or any of the other 25 or so that have trundled through BC over the last decade and a half.”

And there’s another difference:

“Rather than using large ships and building complicated docking facilities, Port Edward LNG fills containers, about 40 containers, every single day and we move those containers on regular container ships. . . .

“And in very simple economic terms, people would say that can’t make sense. ‘You need to make it big in order to achieve economy of scale.’ What that perhaps misses is the cost of building a new pipeline, we don’t have to do that. The cost of building a new dock, we don’t have to do that.

“And on the downstream end, just as importantly, if we’re going into a place in China, they don’t have to build a new receiving terminal either; they just use the existing container dock.

“So there are a lot of capital-cost savings and also, importantly, I think, at the downstream end, some of our potential Chinese customers . . .  truck the LNG from a conventional receiving terminal and they truck it 150, sometimes 200km, to get it to destinations, so that’s a lot of diesel (fuel burned by the trucks).

“We can drop it at a container dock that may be 20 or 30km away. So they achieve both cost savings and environmental pluses in that mix. So it’s a niche play, but we think it’s an important one.”

Hilliard said planning has been under way for three years, including approaching First Nations in the region.

“We’ve secured the land, we went about then securing the pipeline access to the Pacific Northern Gas Line. We then started working with BC Hydro and eventually the regulator.”

(Posted here 04 June 2023)

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