A new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal planned for British Columbia would feature major, onsite power generation components.
The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office on June 23 officially ordered the project into the initial pre-application stage of its environmental review process, based on a project description filed by the developer earlier in June.
Aurora Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. (Aurora LNG) – which is a joint venture between Nexen Energy ULC, INPEX Corp. and JGC Corp. – is proposing to construct and operate an LNG facility and marine terminal near Prince Rupert, referred to as the Aurora LNG Project. Natural gas from northeast British Columbia will be converted into LNG for shipment by LNG carrier to markets in Asia where it will be degasified and distributed.
Key components of the LNG facility will include up to four LNG processing units or ‘trains’, onsite power generation, three LNG storage tanks, and a marine terminal. Natural gas will be transported to the facility via a third party-owned pipeline, which is yet to be determined. The marine terminal will include a marine jetty and a LNG loading facility capable of accommodating LNG carriers up to Q-Flex carriers.
Construction of the project is anticipated to occur in phases with the first phase having a design capacity of between 10 and 12 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG (two trains), required storage tanks, and the marine terminal. Planned commissioning and first shipment of LNG is expected to occur in the 2023 time frame. Full design build out would include potential expansion for an additional two liquefaction trains and additional LNG storage, with a design capacity of between 20 and 24 mtpa LNG. The timing of subsequent phases to full build out will depend on a variety of factors such as LNG market conditions, project economics, and the labor market.
Nexen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd., is an industry leader in the development of natural gas in northeast BC. The CNOOC Group, of which CNOOC Ltd. is a subsidiary, is a diversified energy holding company with interests in upstream, midstream and downstream businesses including CNOOC Gas & Power Ltd. (CGPL). CGPL is currently the largest importer of LNG into China with 12.3 mtpa of LNG import capacity, an additional 8.5 mtpa under construction, and plans to expand to 60 mtpa of LNG import capacity by 2020 to meet China’s growing domestic demand.
INPEX has been supplying LNG to Japan, Korea, Taiwan and other Asian customers since 1977 through its LNG projects, and has developed strong relationships with Japanese and other Asian utility customers who make up the majority of the global LNG demand. It currently has working interests in seven LNG projects in the Asia-Pacific region.
JGC is a world-leading provider of engineering, procurement and construction services, having participated in more than 20,000 projects in over 70 countries. Since 1972, JGC has become one of the world’s most experienced companies in the design and construction of facilities for the global LNG industry.
Aurora project to cost up to $20bn in Canadian dollars
The estimated capital cost for full build out of the Aurora LNG project is between C$17bn and C$20bn (in 2014 dollars).
Supply of natural gas for the project will be sourced primarily from the Horn River and the Liard and Cordova basins of northeast BC through a combination of proprietary natural gas holdings and third-party gas, which may include, but not limited to, purchases at market hubs, gas supply arrangements and upstream joint ventures
Power supply during construction will be provided by diesel-powered generators. During operation, the project will require a substantial amount of energy for the natural gas liquefaction process and to operate non-process related infrastructure. The LNG liquefaction trains will utilize natural gas-fired turbines for the refrigeration compressor drivers. The LNG facility and marine terminal will require electrical power to operate supporting facilities and infrastructure. At this point in facility design (Pre-FEED), it is estimated that approximately 120 MW to 300 MW could be required for Phase 1 depending on the selected process and refrigerant compressor drivers. The total power consumption at full site build out could be between 200 MW and 550 MW.
It is likely that electricity for plant operations will be generated by on-site power generators driven by natural gas from the plant inlet. However, final decisions regarding the type of power generation and capacity will be studied and developed during the feasibility study and engineering phases. Diesel generators will be provided on site during startup, and in the event of emergencies.