New $150 million LNG bunkering, export terminal planned for Tilbury Island

A provincial environmental review has begun for a $150-million LNG terminal that will supply both the domestic and international markets with liquefied natural gas from the FortisBC Tilbury Island plant.

The WesPac Tilbury Marine Jetty project has entered the BC Environmental Assessment review. A 45-day public comment period starts April 2.

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The company behind the project, WesPac Midstream Vancouver, plans to build a temporary floating bunkering berth until a permanent one is built, sometime in 2022.

Once in operation, it would have one berth for one LNG carrier, and a berth for smaller LNG bunkering barges. In addition to a domestic bunkering market, WesPac expects there will also be LNG export opportunities, with Asia being the main market.

The terminal is expected to see up to 69 bunkering barges and 68 LNG carriers coming to and from the terminal annually.

The company wants to have a temporary floating terminal in place by 2020 to meet what is expected to be a new demand for LNG bunkering from the marine sector.

That’s when new sulphur emissions caps come into effect for the international shipping industry. Some international vessels are expected to switch from bunker fuel to cleaner burning LNG.

“The reason why we want to build a temporary berth is to be able to get in the business of moving the LNG to bunker vessels sooner,” said project manager Peter Gallenberger. “The reason we want that is that the International Maritime Organization have regulations hitting in 2020 that will require shippers to significantly reduce sulphur emissions. LNG is one of the alternatives that are being adopted by shippers, so we want to be ready for that market.

“This project will, I think, help create a hub for LNG fuel in B.C.”

But even without the new IMO regulations, a domestic market for LNG for the marine sector is already developing. Seaspan and BC Ferries have been moving some of their ferries to LNG, and it’s a market that is expected to continue to expand.

The proposed jetty will be located at Tilbury Island in the south arm of the Fraser River, where FortisBC’s Tilbury Island LNG plant has undergone an expansion. The new terminal would have an annual capacity of 3 million tonnes of LNG per year. I

Building the permanent terminal will require dredging in the south arm of the Fraser River. Gallenberger said he expects the EAO process will take about nine months.

The project’s construction is expected to employ roughly 100 workers, and 10 permanently once in operation.

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