Premier Christy Clark and one of the people pushing to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Squamish have signed a letter of intent. The letter commits Clark and Imelda Tanoto of Woodfibre LNG to further grow LNG in B.C.
The letter was signed in Singapore as part of an international trade mission Clark is currently on. The May 7 letter-signing event is Clark’s second during her current trade mission in Asia.
"Woodfibre LNG is moving forward with their proposal because they understand the scope of the opportunity in British Columbia," Clark said through a news release. "We are building a competitive new export industry in our province — one that will create unprecedented prosperity and jobs for decades."
Tanoto, the daughter of Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto, is the lead director with Woodfibre LNG.
"Woodfibre LNG is advancing rapidly towards reaching a final decision on the construction of the Woodfibre LNG project," said Tanoto in the same news release.
"Reaching this agreement with Premier Christy Clark is a strong signal to our company that the Government of British Columbia is committed to the success and viability of the LNG sector."
Clark and Tanoto have agreed to assign senior executives to prepare terms of reference for a project development agreement by June 30 to be negotiated by Nov. 30.
Woodfibre LNG wants to be operational in the first quarter of 2017.
The proposed Woodfibre LNG plant on Howe Sound has, so far, a National Energy Board license to export about 2.1 million tonnes of LNG a year. The company also has the municipal zoning it needs to operate an industrial facility. Those are the only approvals in place at this point.
Fortis BC is working toward getting approval to expand its natural gas delivery capacity to the Woodfibre site. The gas company needs to have its plans approved by the Environmental Assessment Office before it can expand the pipeline to deliver the amount of gas Woodfibre LNG needs to make the venture viable.
Before the plant can go ahead the company needs federal and provincial environmental assessment certificates. The company is working to submit the documentation required by the two environmental assessment offices to start a review process.
In advance of filing project documentation, Woodfibre LNG conducted its own public consultation process over the winter to help shape the project details.
Key details like whether the project will be constructed on land, or as a floating facility, haven’t yet been determined and the company hasn’t indicated how it plans to power the plant. Electricity is the preferred choice, but the company could use natural gas to power the facility.
Check back for more details in next week's Pique.