A liquified natural gas (LNG) plant, 13-months in the planning to be located in Port Edward, has received its facilities permit from the BC Oil and Gas Commission, Port Edward District Council heard, on Sept. 14.
The permit allows PE LNG, a small-scale operation, to facilitate early work on-site, such as investigation of rock structures and confirmation of elements, Chris Hilliard, president of the company said, adding a large team has already researched environmental and community considerations.
“So, we’ve done our best to provide a holistic view and the regulator has agreed with that,” he said.
“The facility itself will operate 24-seven, but the movement of the containers within the facility is not an around-the-clock operation in quite the same fashion as the actual liquefaction itself.”
Located on the slope of Mount Stewart, east of Watson Island, and northeast of Wolf Creek, the plant will be built below highway grade and near a BC Hydro facility. It will be 30 metres back from the water’s edge, near Galloway Rapids, with a treed buffer to blend aesthetically with the natural surrounding.
“We’ve chosen to go with a more comprehensive approach … with a shrouded ground flare so that you will not see flame burn,” Hilliard said, with the plant being almost invisible to passersby.
While the storage tanks at the facility will be very large, he said, they are nowhere near as large as those at the Altagas plant or the Pembina circular tanks.
“Our total storage volume in the bullet (storage) tanks is only about 4,000 cubic metres. And that compares to say 22,000 cubic metres at the Pembina facility.”
Hilliard said the PE LNG facility is very small by comparison to other LNG operations in the areas and is only one per cent of the size of LNG Canada.
The plant footprint will be 22 acres out of the total 37-acre property, with 10 acres as the LNG operating plant and another 10 being the container storage parking lot.
“So, it’s not big, it’s manageable, it will create orders of magnitude and dozens of permanent jobs beyond the two years of construction.”
Being constructed on the side of a mountain, substantial rock removal and ground levelling are required. The north side levelling will recycle rock removed from the south side of the property.
“The idea is to be as self-sufficient in terms of waste product and the rock as we can be.”
Once the storage containers are full they will be moved to Fairview Terminal via the new connector road for export or transportation to other areas such as China, Japan and Malaysia, which have already expressed bonafide interest.
“These are people who consume vast quantities of natural gas as it replaces bunker oil and diesel. Their demand is significant. So, that’s our first target. But there will be opportunities locally as well,” he said adding that the design of the storage tank containers makes them moveable and useable, in communities like Haida Gwaii.
“So to burn something that’s much cleaner and less expensive is of great interest. They can literally take one of our containers, put it on the barge, connect it and away they go.”
The storage containers are the size of 40 ft. seacans, but heavier because they are double-walled with a rectangular steel frame and tank inside.
“There’s a vacuum, and insulation layer and then the outside carbon steel, so they are a little bit unique,” Hilliard said.
The LNG plant life is expected to be 25 to 30 years and will create a range of career opportunities up to highly skilled technical people which PE LNG will train.
“Somewhere around here, there are kids who are in Grade 10, who are going to be graduating in a couple of years’ time and this will be a great opportunity for them,” the company president said. “We believe very strongly that it’s a good fit for the community and frankly a great opportunity.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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