Canadian agency seeks input on GHG emissions related to Woodfibre LNG project

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency on Feb. 9 invited the public to comment on an analysis of the anticipated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the proposed Woodfibre LNG Project, to be built on the Pacific coast of British Columbia.

The analysis, conducted by Environment and Climate Change Canada, outlines estimates of upstream GHG emissions resulting from the extraction of the project’s natural gas supply and its transportation to the proposed Woodfibre LNG facility. It also includes data on direct GHG emissions taken from the government of British Columbia’s Assessment Report.

The project backer is Woodfibre LNG Ltd. (formerly known as Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd.).

The analysis was performed in the context of the recently announced interim approach and principles for environmental assessments, which states that direct and upstream greenhouse gas emissions linked to projects under review will be assessed. Comments received will help inform the Minister of Environment and Climate Change’s determination as to whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. Written comments must be submitted by March 1.

This is an analysis of the upstream emissions associated with the Woodfibre Project, including emissions associated with the Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project proposed by FortisBC, and emissions associated with the natural gas supply for the Woodfibre Project.

The proposed Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, British Columbia, is a relatively small project that will produce 2.1 megatonnes (Mt) of LNG per year, using grid-generated electricity for the liquefaction process. The proponent has estimated GHG emissions in the Environmental Impact Statement for the project of 129 kilotonnes or 0.129 Mt per year of CO2e.

For the purposes of this review, “upstream” is defined as all natural gas sector stages before the coastal liquefaction facility – that is, natural gas production, processing, and pipeline transmission. This analysis does not try to determine whether there is any incremental natural gas production that would result from development of the Woodfibre LNG project or whether it will use natural gas production that would have otherwise occurred.

Woodfibre LNG is one of 21 liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and export terminals proposed for the coast of British Columbia. It is a relatively small facility projected to produce 2.1 Mt of LNG per year. Natural gas will be liquefied and shipped via LNG carriers to Asia or other markets. The facility’s direct GHG emissions of 0.129 Mt/year are low compared to other proposed projects as the Woodfibre project would use electricity from the grid to drive the compressors that liquefy the natural gas, rather than using natural-gas-driven turbines.

Emission sources upstream of the project, i.e., which occur in earlier parts of the natural gas supply chain (such as from natural gas transmission pipelines, natural gas processing, gas gathering and well site production operations) are currently not included as part of the project scope and may be evaluated by various other means such as other federal or provincial environmental assessment or permitting processes. The natural gas supply stages upstream of the Woodfibre LNG project include the natural gas transmission pipeline (this includes the 49 kilometer FortisBC Eagle Mountain-Woodfibre Gas Pipeline Project currently undergoing a provincial environmental review), in addition to the existing Fortis BC/Spectra Energy natural gas transmission pipeline) and the natural gas production and processing stages of the natural gas life-cycle.

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.