BY RICHARD GILBERT - The public are invited to comment as Woodfibre Natural Gas Limited (WNGL) works its way through the federal environmental assessment process for the construction of a small-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility near Squamish, B.C.
“The entire private property has greater than a century of existing industrial land use developed as part of the former Woodfibre Pulp and Paper Mill site operations,” said a project description submitted to federal regulators for the Woodfibre LNG environmental assessment.
“The lower flat portion of the property has been defined as the site for the Woodfibre LNG project and is entirely cleared of native mature forest and riparian vegetation, with a single creek (Mill Creek) dividing the eastern and western portions of the project site.”
WNGL, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Pacific Oil & Gas Group, filed a project description with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.
The filing marked the start of the joint federal-provincial environmental assessment process for a proposed LNG processing and export facility.
The estimated capital cost of the Woodfibre LNG project, which will be located on a site about seven kilometres southwest of Squamish, is more than $1.6 billion.
It’s anticipated to have a production capacity of between 1.5 and 2.1 million tonnes per annum (MMTPA).
Its operational life is about 25 years.
The Woodfibre LNG project will be constructed and assembled in a single phase.
There are two possible configurations for construction in relation to the placement of the gas pre-treatment and LNG processing modules within the site.
The preferred configuration involves locating gas pre-treatment and LNG processing prefabricated modules on a permanently moored nearshore floating LNG barge.
The alternative would put the gas pre-treatment and LNG processing prefabricated modules on land.
LNG storage will use floating storage units for both configurations, which have all the same prefabricated modules, processing units and infrastructure.
It is anticipated that most of the existing deep water and shoreline marine terminal infrastructure will need to be upgraded or replaced to address safety, regulatory compliance, and specific project requirements.
An existing materials offloading facility at the site will be upgraded and additional infrastructure will be constructed during site preparation to form the primary entry and exit point for materials.
The primary electric power supply point throughout the construction and operational phases of the project is an upgraded electric substation.
Construction is expected to take about two years and to generate about 600 person-years of direct employment. Operations are scheduled to begin at the end of 2016.
Design concepts, plans and locations for detailed siting and development of the facilities, LNG production plant, storage, and marine loading facility will be completed during the front end engineering and design process.
The facility will be supplied with natural gas from the Western Canadian market by Fortis B.C., which is currently undertaking an expansion of the existing gas transmission system.
The Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Pipeline Expansion Project includes the construction of a 52 km long natural gas pipeline loop of its existing facilities from an area north of Coquitlam, in Metro Vancouver to the facility. The expanded system will be able to supply up to 220 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfd) of natural gas to the facility, with an additional capacity of 100 MMscfd on an interruptible basis.
Last month, WNGL was granted a licence to export LNG from the National Energy Board. The target markets for the exported LNG include Japan, South Korea and China and other Asian countries in the Pacific Rim region.
Shipping activities associated with the project include transit of LNG carriers, with up to 40 vessel calls per year or three to four calls per month.
The 86 hectare Woodfibre property is a previously developed industrial land with operating and permitted facilities, including a tertiary sewage treatment plant, landfills, chemical and hazardous waste storage, laydown areas, access roads within the site and a deep sea marine vessel terminal.
The property includes existing water lots adjacent to the site.
The site can only be accessed using water transportation, which is provided by a private passenger ferry from Squamish Government Docks.