It’s going to be at least two years before backers of a large floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility proposed for B.C.’s north coast will find out if they have environmental approval, says a provincial official involved in the review of the Ksi Lsims LNG project.
The project is already one year into an assessment by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and is now inviting public comment, said Fern Stockman.
She described the project as still being in an early planning phase.
As it is, backers have already submitted a detailed introductory project proposal to environmental officials and the federal government has issued a 40-year export licence.
Based on filings to date, Ksi Lisims would export 12 million tonnes of super-cooled natural gas a year, just shy of the 14 million tonnes to be produced by the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat now well under construction.
The gas would come from northeastern B.C. and Alberta via one of two natural gas pipelines that were approved years ago for LNG projects that were subsequently shelved. Ksi Lisims is in negotiations with the pipeline owners and has not released details.
The floating LNG facility proposal is a partnership between the Nisga’a Lisims Government and several companies with connections to the natural gas industry.
It’s being billed as a jobs provider low-emissions generator.
“Our people need to be employed,” Nisga’a Lisims Elders Council Chairperson Herbert Morven said at a recent open house in Terrace.
“They need to start to work toward their independence that we had some years ago before the Indian Act came and started to control who we are and how we live and what we do.”
Several thousand people would be needed during construction and between 150 to 200 people would be needed during operations.
The Nisga’a Lisims Government held its own information session where Nisga’a citizens voiced their own opinions.
“Some of them said we’ll think about it, which is their privilege and their right to, so it wasn’t a haphazard process,” Morven said.
Ksi Lisims communications official Rebecca Scott said the project’s claim to be a low greenhouse gas emissions emitter rests with using hydro-electricity to run the machinery that will super-cool natural gas to liquid form. Other LNG producers use natural gas.
“Other projects are built to be driven through gas and maybe they’ll change their technology at some point when electrification is possible,” Scott said.
“We’ll have electric technology from the very beginning.”
Ksi Lisims is on the list of potential BC Hydro customers and the crown corporation is now negotiating with a third-party who would provide the transmission line connection to the facility.
Although Scott described Ksi Lisims backers and eager to get out into the community, she refused to provide any financial details of what is expected to cost more than $10 billion. The figure does not include a pipeline construction cost.
“Building a project like this in British Columbia is an uphill battle,” she said. “It’s always challenging and that’s the way it should be,” she said.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story indicated Kisi Lisims LNG spokesperson Rebecca Scott said the project will be “electrified.” Scott has since clarrified her comments to indicate the project will use “electric technology.”
Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.