2 stalled LNG projects in Nova Scotia may be on the brink of revival
Renewed signs of interest in Goldboro and Bear Head projects
Two proposed liquefied natural gas projects in Nova Scotia that previously stalled are now showing signs of advancing.
Pieridae Energy, the company behind the Goldboro LNG project, is in discussions with the federal government about how to move the project forward.
The proposed LNG terminal in Goldboro, N.S., was previously pitched as a $13-billion land-based facility that would bring in gas from Western Canada and then ship it to Europe. Pieridae shelved the project last summer due to cost pressures and time constraints.
But after Russia — a key supplier of oil and gas to Europe — invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the federal government approached Pieridae to see if the company could assist with efforts to ramp up energy exports to help wean Europe off Russian resources.
It's a far cry from the situation a year ago, when Pieridae requested $1 billion from Ottawa to help make the project a reality — funding that did not materialize.
"The world has changed a lot since then," Pieridae CEO Alfred Sorensen told CBC News Tuesday. "We have to take advantage of all the work we've done already and try and see if we can move the project forward very quickly."
Earlier this year, Pieridae Energy was considering a smaller project with a floating LNG barge where gas would be super-chilled and then transferred onto tankers.
The company is now shifting its attention back to a land-based project because it would be able to produce more gas than a barge-based facility, and the federal government is interested in maximizing output, Sorensen said.
Asked what type of supports Ottawa is offering to Pieridae, Sorensen said, "hopefully more than prayers and hugs."
"I think it is going to be a combination of regulatory and financial support. There's no doubt about that."
Sorensen said three significant hurdles remain, including First Nations reconciliation issues, finding a new engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning partner, and achieving the needed upgrades to existing pipelines.
Even with many approvals and permits already in place, Sorensen said gas would not likely flow from a Goldboro facility until January 2027.
Bear Head project acquired by U.S. company
Meanwhile, Texas energy company Buckeye Partners announced last week it has an agreement to purchase Bear Head Energy and its proposed LNG project in Point Tupper, N.S.
The Bear Head project was in development for over 15 years, but has had difficulty getting gas suppliers and customers on board.
"Nova Scotia's unique geographical characteristics give the region the potential to become one of the most productive renewable and green energy development areas in the world," said Buckeye CEO Todd Russo in a news release.
"Via this acquisition, it is our intention to develop a large-scale energy production, distribution and export hub that will offer our customers lower-carbon energy solutions, including LNG or other green fuels."
Through a PR company, Buckeye declined to answer questions about the company's plans for the site.
The Bear Head project aimed to bring natural gas from Western Canada or the U.S., cool it to a liquefied state at a plant in Point Tupper, then ship it to Europe.
Bear Head Energy has previously described the project as being caught in a catch-22, with gas customers unwilling to commit until they know where the gas is coming from, and suppliers unwilling to build a gas pipeline to Point Tupper until customers are lined up.
The company was originally given a construction permit for the project in 2006 and has received extensions since then. The current permit is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2022.
Buckeye's news release touts the fact that project approvals and permits are already in place, "placing it at a significant advantage for expeditious project development and execution."
Any oil and gas project in Nova Scotia will face opposition from people concerned about its impact on climate change and greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Nova Scotia aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The federal government has pledged to reduce Canada's emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and it is counting on the widespread deployment of hydrogen to help achieve that.
Sorensen said while Nova Scotia's cap-and-trade program "doesn't work for us," if the federal backstop carbon pricing is used, "the economics will work."
On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the news agency Reuters, "We're looking to be good partners on energy with our European friends but we're never slowing down in our fight against climate change.
"Part of that is recognizing that the same infrastructure that can be used for LNG can also be used for hydrogen and ammonia that are possibly going to fuel the transition off of fossil fuels."
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With a file from Reuters
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