Canadian agency reviews application for Énergie Saguenay LNG project in Quebec

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said Dec. 3 that it will take public comment until Dec. 23 as part of its deliberations on whether a federal environmental assessment is required for the proposed Énergie Saguenay Project, located in the borough of La Baie in Saguenay, Quebec.

To assist it in making its decision, the Agency is seeking comments from the public on the project and its potential effects on the environment.

GNL Québec Inc. is developing the Énergie Saguenay Project, which involves the construction and the operation of a natural gas liquefaction complex mainly for export purposes in the vicinity of the Grande-Anse marine terminal facilities managed by the Saguenay Port Authority (SPA) in the District of La Baie, Saguenay City, Quebec.

The complex will have a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity of 11 million tons per annum (Mtpa). A new gas pipeline, approximately 650 kilometers long, will be built by a third party to supply the project site from Eastern Ontario. The LNG will be mainly exported to global markets showing significant demand growth, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. The project investment is estimated at C$7.5 billion.

The complex will be powered by hydroelectricity, including the liquefaction trains, thus allowing for significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than those of most existing similar-size LNG facilities worldwide, the company said in a November 2015 project summary filed with the agency.

GNL Québec is owned by Ruby River Capital LLC, which is incorporated in the United States, whose main partners are Freestone International LLC and Breyer Capital LLC. The shareholders have substantial international experience in the field of LNG plant design, development, construction, and operations, as well as significant knowledge of the global natural gas market, along with solid financing expertise of such infrastructure projects.

LNG project would be outlet for Canadian gas no longer being exported to the U.S.

The company noted that longstanding historical exports of Canadian natural gas to the Northeastern United States have fallen sharply and are expected to continue to decline due to much increased production capacity south of the border together with a plan to export natural gas to Mexico and even to Canada. Gas pipelines that have historically flowed large volumes of gas sourced in Western Canada into the United States are now considering reversing flows to provide means to deliver additional gas volumes from the United States into the northern markets. Natural gas from Western Canada, that once flowed into the United States is saturating the Canadian market and creating natural gas surpluses. At the same time, Canadian natural gas production capacity is increasing, thus lowering North American natural gas prices and raising interest in exporting natural gas to global markets.

In parallel with the sharp increase in gas supply in North America, global demand for natural gas is expected to continue to increase due to the replacement of more polluting fossil fuels such as coal and oil, economic growth in emerging countries, reduction in the use of nuclear power in some countries, and the search for energy supply diversification and stability in other countries. Based on current estimates, global LNG demand could double over the next 20 years, thus favorably placing Canada as a stable source of natural gas, in liquefied form, for global markets in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

In that respect, the existing natural gas pipeline network from Western Canada to Eastern Ontario can become an asset for exporting excess Canadian natural gas from Easter Canada to global markets.

The project will have a natural gas liquefaction capacity of about 1.56 Bcf/d, or 44 million cubic meters per day (Mm³/d), for a yearly production capacity of 11 Mtpa. The feedstock material, i.e. natural gas, will likely come from Western Canada and be transported to Eastern Ontario via the existing pipeline network.

The project will include the following major components:

  • Processing facilities (natural gas liquefaction facilities) including natural gas inlet station and treatment equipment, two or three liquefaction trains, two or three LNG storage tanks, and refrigerant tanks, boil-off and end-flash gas management systems, including flares, as well as utility systems, such as demineralized water, nitrogen and compressed air supply systems, and an oil heater for process heating needs.
  • Port infrastructure on the south shore of the Saguenay River, including a jetty, a platform, and a berthing dock for LNG vessels. The wharf will be built to ensure a water depth of 15 meters, at low tide, to accommodate LNG vessels. The platform will support the LNG cryogenic pipes and loading arms, and vapour return pipes to the land-based facilities.
  • Support infrastructures and facilities, such as service and control buildings, an electric substation, an emergency generator, a water supply system, an effluent collection and treatment system, a waste collection system, and access roads to the site.

The estimated 550 MW required to power the proposed terminal will be supplied from the Hydro-Québec grid. Construction of a distribution line from an existing Hydro-Québec substation in Saguenay to the project site will be required. According to preliminary studies, the length of the new transmission line will be about 40 kilometers. Hydro-Québec will be responsible for building the transmission line.

Project contact information includes:

  • Michel G. Gagnon, President, GNL Québec Inc.,, Phone: 418 973-5868 ext. 203;
  • Lise Castonguay, Director, Environment and Community,, Phone: 418 973-5868 ext. 201.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.