July 28, 2016
In early July 2015 a flotilla of boats cruised Howe Sound to protest the Woodfibre LNG project. Over the past year thousands of people participated in the environmental assessment process and many protests. The project remains objectionable to many people and the local communities around the sound. Recently a letter signed by Mayors of West Vancouver, Bowen Island, Lions Bay, the Islands Trust Chair was sent to the Prime Minister asking for permits to be withheld and to stop this LNG project in Howe Sound.
The final investment decision by the owners of the proposed Woodfibre LNG project is still pending. With the spot price of LNG continuing to remain low, the company is striving for suppliers to reduce costs in order to arrive at a convincing business case. The supplier of natural gas to Woodfibre, Fortis BC, has received conditional approval from the BC Environmental Assessment Office having altered their Eagle Mountain Pipeline Project plan to satisfy various objections to their preferred route. The two First Nations — the Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh — allege the approval process was rushed and failed to meet the standard for achieving consent from local First Nations. The new location of the compressor station near Squamish will need to go through a rezoning by the Squamish Lillooet Regional District in order to be built, and residents living close by are not happy that rezoning the land to industrial use is in their best interest.
The Woodfibre LNG facility business case is dependant on BC Hydro delivering the power needed to operate the massive sea-water cooling system, a system that requires permitting by Fisheries and Oceans since it will kill fish. Permitting by BC Oil and Gas Commission of both the pipeline and the facility are still in pre-application phase. Costs may also be affected to suit the permits as two LNG carriers are being used as floating storage containers that need to be retrofitted and upgraded to meet safety requirements. In order to deliver the liquefied natural gas to customers, recommendations resulting from Transport Canada’s TERMPOL review currently underway, may further affect delivery costs of the cargo.
The Environmental Approval certificates issued by the BC and Federal Governments have expiry dates and extensions can be issued, but the projects need to be “substantially started” before the deadlines. Investors may be asking how long will LNG be the energy of choice in the future as customers turn to renewable energy.
Recent media articles regarding Woodfibre LNG and Fortis Eagle Mountain Pipeline Project:
August 18: Tsleil-Waututh oppose Fortis Pipeline
August 12th: FortisBC gets OK for pipeline to Squamish
July 28th: “They Move ahead Anyhow”