Nova Scotia

'Optimistic' Pieridae to make investment decision on Goldboro LNG by June

Pieridae Energy is optimistic it will build a liquefied natural gas plant in Guysborough County, N.S., starting sometime next year. But first, the company has to finalize supply and transportation issues, and deal with greenhouse gas emissions after that.

Company, province discussing how greenhouse gas emissions will fit Nova Scotia cap-and-trade program

Now that it has a permit to build an LNG plant at Goldboro, Guysborough County, N.S., Pieridae Energy needs to finalize its supply of natural gas from Western Canada and secure pipeline access to transport product to the East Coast. (Pieridae Energy)

Pieridae Energy is optimistic it will build a liquefied natural gas plant in Guysborough County, N.S., starting sometime next year.

But first, the company has to finalize supply and transportation issues around the $10-billion Goldboro LNG plant.

The issue of greenhouse gas emissions will be dealt with after that.

Environment Minister Margaret Miller says the Nova Scotia government's new cap-and-trade program on greenhouse gas emissions hasn't factored in a liquefied natural gas plant yet. (Robert Short/CBC News)

The company expects to make a final investment decision by June, said Mark Brown, vice-president of business development.

"We are optimistic," he said.

"We have to be. That's the nature of the business, and the important thing I think is that we have completed many milestones going forward. There's been nothing to knock the project off the rails yet, so we continue to be optimistic that we will get to a successful conclusion at final investment decision."

German loans, German sales

Pieridae has secured $4.5 billion in loan guarantees from the German government, said Brown, including $3 billion to build the plant and $1.5 billion for natural gas development.

It has also signed a deal with German utility Uniper SE, which will buy half of the plant's LNG output for 20 years.

The loans will help Pieridae close a deal to acquire Calgary-based oil and gas developer Ikkuma Resources Corp., which will solve "most of our gas supply issue," Brown said.

At the same time, the company will look to complete transportation arrangements to get gas by pipeline from Western Canada to the East Coast, he said.

"We have gone so far as to conduct some pre-work, which shows that there is capacity available for the first train, which will satisfy our contractual obligation to Uniper, who has signed that binding 20-year contract for 50 per cent of the permitted output of the plant," said Brown.

In addition, the company will be ramping up its efforts to attract other investors for the project, he said.

LNG plants are considered large emitters of greenhouse gases. Brown said initial estimates are for the Goldboro plant to produce around 2.4 million tonnes of GHGs annually.

Pieridae has held talks with the province over its recently announced cap-and-trade program, but nothing has been decided yet because the Goldboro plant likely wouldn't be operational until at least 2023, he said.

'We are optimistic,' said Mark Brown. (Submitted by Pieridae Energy)

Environment Minister Margaret Miller said that's after the first phase of the province's cap-and-trade program on greenhouse gas emissions ends.

"Our cap-and-trade program, so far we have a timeline of 2018 to 2022," she told reporters.

"We haven't figured Goldboro into that plan. When it does come online, or as any new business comes in after that 2022 timeline, we'll make adjustments to accommodate those businesses."

Committed to reductions

Miller said the province will meet its obligations because it is committed to reducing emissions.

"We will be no matter what kind of industry comes into the province."

Brown said the proposed Goldboro plant will be at or below federal guidelines for large greenhouse gas emitters.

"We will look to be in compliance with any sort of legislation regarding cap-and-trade that is ultimately implemented by the province," he said. 

"And I should add that in conjunction to that, we have also been working on certain technical solutions and even commercial ones that we hope will reduce our GHG footprint by a considerable amount."

About the Author

Tom Ayers

Reporter/Editor

Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 33 years. He has spent the last 15 years covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at tom.ayers@cbc.ca.