British Columbia

Woodfibre LNG project confident it will move forward despite Pacific Northwest setback

The $1.6 billion LNG plant planned at old Woodfibre pulp mill near Squamish, B.C., is still expected to go forward, according to the company's vice president.

$1.6 billion LNG plant planned at old Woodfibre pulp mill near Squamish expected to open in 2020

A preliminary project configuration shows the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish, B.C. It's the only B.C. LNG project with a final investment decision. (Woodfibre LNG)

Despite the announcement this week that Petronas' Pacific Northwest LNG megaproject is no longer going forward, the vice president of the Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, B.C., is confident its project will still go through.

The $1.6 billion Woodfibre LNG project — located at an old pulp mill — will process natural gas shipped by pipeline from Northern B.C. into liquified natural gas for export.

The project received federal and First Nations environmental support last year and was awarded a 40-year natural gas export licence by the federal government last month. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

But with the withdrawal of Petronas from B.C.'s flagship LNG megaproject in Port Edward, the future of the province's LNG industry is uncertain.

Different challenges

Byng Giraud, the country manager and vice president of corporate affairs for Woodfibre LNG, says their Squamish project is different.

For one, he says, it's much smaller than the Pacific Northwest project. And due to existing infrastructure — including a deep sea port —  it doesn't face the same construction challenges as the northern projects.

"We have an industrial site so we're not creating something new. We have a pipeline that already passes right through the site. B.C. Hydro lines pass right through the site," he said.

Furthermore, Giraud says Woodfibre has an existing export relationship with the Guangdong province of China — B.C.'s sister province — and he says there are import facilities under construction there.

"We see this project moving forward," he said.

NDP support

As for politics, Giraud dismissed the idea the new NDP government was hostile to the LNG industry.

"I don't see the current government as a hurdle. I see them as a different government and we're going to have to adapt," he said.

"And to be fair to the new premier, he actually did recognize we were meeting those conditions."

Premier John Horgan had supported the project during the election campaign.

Woodfibre LNG is the currently the only B.C. LNG project to receive a final investment decision.

With files from The Early Edition