B.C. EAO gives thumbs up as work progresses on Kitimat LNG project

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) has given the thumbs up to Chevron Corp. and Woodside Energy’s Kitimat LNG cooling and export facility project near Kitimat.

In a letter dated Sept. 8, Executive Director Peter Craven noted the project has been “substantially started.”

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The project will consist of the development of natural gas resources in the Liard and Horn River Basins in Northeast B.C., transportation of that gas across northern B.C. via a third party pipeline and the Pacific Trail Pipeline to Kitimat on the west coast. A liquefaction facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat will cool the gas into a liquid for shipping to overseas markets.

Under the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act, a project must be “substantially started” at least three years, and not more than five years after an environmental certificate is issued.

By acknowledging that the project is progressing, Craven assures that the company will maintain its certificate.

The Chevron/Woodside project is separate from another Kitimat LNG terminal planned by LNG Canada, a consortium involving Shell, PetroChina, Korea Gas Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp.

A final investment decision has yet to be announced for either of the two projects.

According to Gillian Robinson, a spokesperson with Chevron - a leading partner in the project along with Australian-based Woodside Energy International, who bought Apache Corp.'s stake in the project for $2.7 billion last year - the Bish Cove site saw the completion and re-opening of the Bish Cove Service Road.

“Since 2011, work on the road has upgraded it to a two-lane roadway, including the replacement of six bridges,” Robinson wrote in an email to the Alaska Highway News.

The terminal site saw further engineering and design work, including site clearing, rock blasting and grading, geotechnical work, construction of a temporary jetty, and building and maintaining a storm water management and treatment system.

“Full construction at the proposed LNG terminal site would begin once a final investment decision is made,” Robinson added.

Chevron pumped the brakes on the project in February, when it announced it would be slashing worldwide LNG spending to $8 billion this year, down from $10 billion in 2014. This meant the consortium would not be making an investment decision on the Kitimat project in 2015.

In a conference call, Chevron CEO John Watson said the Kitimat project was undergoing a front-end engineering and design phase.

When asked by the Alaska Highway News in February, B.C. based LNG consultant Zoher Meratla of CDS Research Ltd. said “it’s a complicated equation,” trying to figure out when the trigger could be pulled on a final investment decision for the project.


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