Possible 250-MW plant eyed for Nexen LNG project in British Columbia

The British Columbia Environmental Assessment said Jan. 9 that it will take comment from Jan. 16 to March 2 on an application from Nexen Energy ULC for an environmental assessment certificate on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project that would be supported by a major power plant component.

Nexen filed the application for and on behalf of Aurora LNG, a joint venture between Nexen and INPEX Gas British Columbia Ltd. (IGBC). Aurora LNG is proposing to construct and operate the Aurora LNG Project, an LNG facility and marine terminal near Prince Rupert, British Columbia (BC). The proposed project will convert natural gas from northeast BC into LNG for shipment by LNG carriers to markets in Asia where it will be regasified and distributed.

Nexen said the joint venture partners bring to the project a unique combination of expertise, market access, well established networks with customers in key growth markets, and decades of experience in the global LNG industry.

  • Nexen is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd. and 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 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of existing 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.
  • IGBC’s largest shareholder is INPEX Corp. (INPEX). 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. INPEX currently has working interests in seven LNG projects in the Asia‐Pacific region, including three projects where it is the operator: Ichthys LNG in Australia, Abadi LNG in Indonesia, and Naoetsu LNG receiving terminal in Japan. INPEX has been producing natural gas in Japan for over 30 years, where it is the largest domestic distributor of natural gas and owns a gas distribution pipeline that is over 1,000 kilometers long.

This British Columbia LNG project will consist of key components that include:

  • A natural gas receiving and LNG production facility that will process approximately 24 MTPA of LNG at full build-out. When fully developed, the LNG facility will require approximately 104 million cubic metres per day (Mm3/d) (3.7 billion standard cubic feet per day [Bcf/d] or 3.9 Peta Joules per day [PJ/d]) of natural gas. Of this amount, it is estimated that approximately 97 Mm3/d (3.4 Bcf/d or 3.6 PJ/d) of natural gas will be processed into LNG, and 7 Mm3/d (0.3 Bcf/d or 0.3 PJ/d) of natural gas will be required for facility operation. At full build-out, there will be three LNG storage tanks at the LNG facility with storage capacity of up to 585,000 m3. 
  • A marine terminal and LNG loading facility (“marine terminal”) capable of accommodating up to two LNG carriers with a capacity up to 217,000 m3 (Q-Flex size).
  • Supporting infrastructure and facilities, including a material offloading facility (MOF), laydown area, soils storage area, air and water supply utilities, waste and wastewater management, power generation and supply, camp for operations, maintenance and turnaround personnel, access road, and haul roads.

At full build-out, the project will require approximately 160 to 320 LNG carrier visits each year to transport the LNG to overseas markets.

The scope of the project for the purpose of this environmental assessment does not include transportation of natural gas to the LNG facility, which is anticipated to be provided by a third-party-owned pipeline. The third-party pipeline provider is yet to be determined.

The purpose of the project is to convert natural gas from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) of northeast BC into LNG, through a liquefaction process, for shipment by LNG carriers to markets in Asia.

The anticipated project schedule is based on approvals and a positive final investment decision in 2020. Construction of the proposed project is anticipated to occur in phases. The first phase will include the construction of two liquefaction trains with a design capacity of 10–12 MTPA of LNG, two LNG storage tanks, and the marine terminal. The planned commissioning and first shipment of LNG is expected to occur in 2026. Full design build-out will include an additional two liquefaction trains and an additional LNG storage tank, with a planned ultimate design capacity of approximately 24 MTPA of LNG. The timing of subsequent phases to full build-out will depend on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, LNG market conditions.

Power supply during construction is to be provided by a combination of electric power from the existing BC Hydro grid and self-generation by natural gas- or diesel-powered generators. During operations, the LNG liquefaction trains are expected to 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.

Approximately 250 MW of power will be required at full build-out to drive the balance of LNG facility equipment, excluding the refrigeration compressors. This will be provided by the installation of an onsite power generation facility capable of supplying the additional power. Final decisions regarding the type of power generation and capacity will be confirmed later; however, the preliminary design being assessed is a combined-cycle natural gas power plant with a recirculating cooling tower.

Diesel generators will be provided onsite during startup, and in the event of emergencies. The emergency diesel power generation system will provide approximately 2.5 MW of power during power outages for emergency lighting, security monitoring systems, electrical trace heating, control center monitoring and operations systems, fire protection and monitoring systems, hazard detection systems and the LNG sendout pump to maintain circulation in cryogenic pipeline systems.

A project contact is: Darcy Janko Sr., Manager, Regulatory Affairs-Natural Gas, telephone (403) 699-5065, darcy.janko@nexencnoocltd.com.

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.