Nova Scotia

CEO says 'cost pressures' involved in shelving Goldboro LNG project

The CEO of Calgary-based Pieridae Energy said on Friday that the company would be taking the Goldboro LNG project in Nova Scotia in a "new direction."

Current environment makes project as proposed 'impractical'

A sign at the site in Goldboro, N.S., targeted for a proposed $13 billion natural gas liquefaction plant. (Nic Meloney/CBC)

Goldboro LNG, a liquid natural gas project proposed for Nova Scotia, will not be moving forward.

Calgary-based Pieridae Energy announced Friday it will take the project destined for Guysborough County in a new direction, but doesn't elaborate.

"Cost pressures and time constraints due to COVID-19 have made building the current version of the LNG Project impractical," CEO Alfred Sorensen said in a statement.

The project proposed to import gas from Alberta, process it in Goldboro and export it to Germany. It had the support of the Municipality of Guysborough County and Premier Iain Rankin.

Pieridae had asked the federal government for $925 million as the initial investment in the project.

Potential impact

Environmental groups say the project would significantly increase provincial greenhouse gas emissions and make it impossible to meet climate targets.

Mi'kmaw groups say the construction of a 5,000-person work camp would pose a serious threat to the safety of Indigenous women and girls.

"We have not been able to meet all of the key conditions necessary to make a final investment decision," Sorensen said in his statement.

A June 30 deadline for the final investment decision had already been extended for a year last May.

The company said it will be evaluating alternatives for the site "that could make an LNG project more compatible with the current environment."

Ken Summers, a Hants County resident and member of the environmental group NOFRAC, is one of five activists Pieridae threatened with a lawsuit for being "in receipt of certain Confidential Information of Pieridae."

Activist Ken Summers says he's pleased the project isn't moving ahead. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Summers said he was pleased to hear the project is not moving ahead as planned, adding that global trends are making LNG projects increasingly difficult to launch.

"The door is closing on fossil fuel mega-projects," Summers said.

Jobs promised

Pieridae first announced their plans for Goldboro LNG nine years ago. It bought the project site from the Municipality of the District of Guysborough six years ago, promising thousands of jobs and tax revenue for rural Nova Scotia.

Guysborough County Warden Vernon Pitts said he was surprised by Pieridae's announcement but is waiting to hear more details.

"There could very well be a silver lining within this dark cloud," Pitts said in an email.

This isn't the first time Pieridae's CEO Alfred Sorensen has tried to launch an LNG plant.

Pieridae's website states that from 2003-10, Sorensen was the CEO and a founder of Galveston LNG, the company that started the Kitimat LNG project. The project is currently owned by Woodside Energy and Chevron, the latter of which recently announced its plans to to stop funding the project.

Although early preparation work at the site began in 2011, Kitimat LNG still has yet to reach the actual construction phase. 

The phone number for Pieridae's Halifax office is no longer in service and their spokesperson is out of the office until July 19.