Canadian Utility Files to Expand LNG Storage
FortisBC, the natural gas and LNG utility serving the province of British Columbia, said January 6 it had applied to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for approval of its Tilbury LNG Storage Expansion project.
The C$769mn (US$606mn) project involves replacing legacy assets at FortisBC’s existing Tilbury Island LNG regasification terminal in the Vancouver suburb of Delta with 3bn ft3 (about 85mn m3) of new storage capacity and 800mn ft3/day of LNG regasification capacity. The Tilbury Island complex has been operating as a liquefaction and regas terminal since 1971 and is seeking regulatory approvals for a C$3bn expansion that would increase liquefaction capacity to 4.5mn mt/yr.
In its application to the BCUC, FortisBC (referred to in the application as FEI) characterises the project as a resiliency investment that will improve its ability to maintain continuity of service should its natural gas supply be disrupted.
FortisBC gets most of its gas supply from Westcoast Energy’s T-South system, which in 2018 suffered a rupture that cut all gas to BC’s Lower Mainland completely for two days and constrained deliveries to the FortisBC system for 14 months.
That came close to exceeding the utility’s own “minimum resiliency planning objective” which calls for it to recover from a three-day no flow event without having to shut down portions of its distribution system or otherwise shed firm load.
“FEI’s current capabilities, which include load management tools and various supply options, fall well short of the minimum resiliency planning objective,” FortisBC says in the application, noting that meeting that objective in the Lower Mainland region would require 2bn ft3 of LNG storage and 800mn ft3/day of regasification capacity.
“However, the economies of scale associated with LNG tank construction justify a 3bn ft3 tank to capture significant additional resiliency benefits, as well as significant optionality and other ancillary benefits for customers,” it says.
Pending BCUC approval, FortisBC hopes to begin construction as early as 2022, with completion by 2026.