Canadian agency reviews Pacific NorthWest LNG project in British Columbia

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on Feb. 10 went out for comment on a draft federal environmental assessment of the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG Project, to be located in British Columbia.

Written comments on the draft EA must be submitted by March 11. Following the public comment period, the EA and recommended environmental assessment conditions will be finalized and provided to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The Minister will then consider all of the information, including input from Indigenous groups and the public, and make a determination as to whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Pacific NorthWest LNG LP is proposing the construction, operation, and decommissioning of a new facility for the liquefaction, storage, and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The project is proposed to be located primarily on federal lands and waters administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority approximately 15 kilometers south of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

At full production, the facility would receive approximately 3.2 billion standard cubic feet per day, or 9.1 x 107 cubic meters per day, of pipeline grade natural gas, and produce up to 19.2 million tonnes per annum of LNG for over 30 years. The project would include the construction and operation of a marine terminal for loading LNG on to vessels for export to Pacific Rim markets in Asia.

Pacific NorthWest LNG LP is majority-owned by PETROLIAM NASIONAL BERHAD (PETRONAS) with Sinopec, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., India Oil Corp. Ltd., and PetroleumBRUNEI as minority shareholders. PETRONAS, owned by the Government of Malaysia, is an integrated oil and gas business with interests in exploration and construction, downstream oil and petrochemicals, gas and power, logistics and marine, and technology and engineering.

The project consists of:

  • LNG Trains: Natural gas transported to the facility would be processed in LNG trains. Each train would consist of a feed gas receiving unit, pressure let down unit, gas treatment unit, gas dehydration unit, mercury removal unit, fractionation unit, and liquefaction unit. The facility would contain up to three identical 6.4 million tonnes per annum liquefaction trains. Processing would be powered by gas-fired turbines.
  • LNG Storage: Up to three full-containment, double wall LNG storage tanks would be constructed for the facility. The tanks would include: instrumentation and systems for measuring and recording level, pressure and temperature; leak/gas detection systems; cool-down control systems; valves for pressure and vacuum protection; and a control system for fire detection and protection.
  • LNG Loading (Marine Terminal): The terminal would consist of a 2.7-kilometer jetty that includes a 1.6-kilometer clear-span suspension bridge and a 1.1-kilometer conventional pipe pile trestle extending west from Lelu Island to the marine terminal berths beyond Agnew Bank. LNG from the storage tanks would be pumped to the marine terminal berths and then loaded into the ships by marine loading arms.
  • Utilities and Offsite Facilities: To support the operation of the LNG facility, the following components would be required: flare system for managing release of gas in testing and emergency situations; electrical power supply for process pumps, cooling fans, lighting, etc.; bulk storage; water supply infrastructure; waste water treatment systems (upgrade and use of existing system on mainland); storm water management infrastructure; fire control infrastructure; and compressed air and nitrogen generation systems.
  • Non-Manufacturing Facilities: Other project components not related to manufacturing LNG include a Materials Offloading Facility, bridge and short access road to Lelu Island, administration and maintenance buildings, site fencing, site lighting, and habitat compensation measures.

The project as covered by the draft EA does not include pipeline transportation of natural gas from gas fields in northwestern British Columbia, which would be provided by the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, proposed by TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.

Onsite power generation was chosen over power wheeled to the site

Two alternatives were evaluated for electrical power: onsite generation, and offsite generation. Using electrical power from BC Hydro was not considered feasible due to the lack of available electricity to supply the plant in the project’s timeline. Onsite power generation from aero-derivative gas turbines was selected as the preferred option by the proponent because it eliminates the risks of power reliability that a transmission line would introduce. The proponent has committed to using third-party external power for non-essential needs when renewable energy sources are more mature and electricity is made available, to lower greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.

During operations, most air emissions would be land-based and continuous, and generated by three thermal oxidizers, six mixed-refrigerant compressor turbine drivers, six natural gas turbine generators, and three flares.

In other news for this project:

  • TransCanada (TSX: TRP) (NYSE: TRP) announced in June 2015 that its Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Ltd. (PRGT) project has entered into project agreements with the Doig River First Nation, Halfway River First Nation and Yekooche First Nation of northern British Columbia. The agreements provide each First Nation with financial and other benefits related to the pipeline projects. PRGT is proposing to design, build, own and operate a 900-kilometer natural gas pipeline to deliver gas from a point near Hudson’s Hope to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG facility.
  • The British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office said in November 2014 that it had issued Environmental Assessment Certificates for three liquefied natural gas-related projects in northern B.C. – the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline, the Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility in Prince Rupert and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. It noted that the Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility was also the subject of a federal environmental assessment.
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.