British Columbia

AltaGas planning to build B.C.'s first propane export terminal

A Calgary energy company says it plans to build the first propane export terminal on Canada's West Coast, after receiving approval from federal regulators earlier last year.

Calgary company expects to be exporting propane from the Prince Rupert terminal by 2019

Ridley Island, near Prince Rupert, is the proposed location for B.C.'s first propane export terminal. (Facebook.com/rupertport)

A Calgary energy company says it plans to build the first propane export terminal on Canada's West Coast, after receiving approval from federal regulators earlier last year.

AltaGas announced Tuesday it plans to start construction on the roughly $475-million Ridley Export Terminal near Prince Rupert, B.C., with the goal of exporting propane by early 2019.

The site for the terminal is brownfield land leased from the Prince Rupert Port Authority on Ridley Island.

According to the company, AltaGas began the formal environmental review process in early 2016, which included the submission of an environmental evaluation document to federal regulators.

The company also says it has worked closely with First Nations throughout the process and will continue to do so as it moves forward.

The project, which is expected to create 200 to 250 construction jobs and about 40 to 50 permanent jobs once operational, also has the support of B.C. Premier Christy Clark, according to CEO David Harris.

Linking northern B.C. to Asia

The terminal is designed to ship 1.2 million tonnes of propane per year that will come by rail from Western Canada, with the company supplying about half of the product itself and outsourcing the rest.

Last October AltaGas also announced plans to produce propane and other natural gas liquids at the North Pine facility it committed to build last October, which — along with a set of pipelines — is currently under construction about 40 kilometres northwest of Fort St. John, B.C.

The company says it already has an agreement to sell at least half of the propane exports from the Ridley terminal to Japan-based Astomos Energy Corp., and is in discussions with several buyers on further capacity commitments.

"Propane exports off of Canada's West Coast pulls together our vision of offering Canadian producers a complete energy value chain," said Harris. "Together with our northeast B.C. infrastructure, once the Ridley Export Terminal is built and operating, we will give producers new access to premium Asian markets for their propane."

The company says the propane shipments from B.C. are expected to take about 10 days to arrive in Asia compared with 25 days for exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Last February, the company shelved plans to build an LNG export terminal near Kitmat, B.C.

With files from The Canadian Press