Haisla LNG Project Advances in Regulatory Arena [UPDATE]
With the 14mn mt/yr LNG Canada project in its traditional territory now under construction and the 18mn mt/yr Kitimat LNG project at Bish Cove advancing through pre-FID activity, Haisla Nation’s own LNG project, Cedar LNG, has entered the regulatory process.
In an August 30 letter to Cedar LNG CEO Tony Brady, the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) said it had determined the Cedar LNG project – consisting of floating liquefaction units capable of exporting between 3.0mn mt/yr and 4.0mn mt/yr of LNG – constitutes a reviewable project under BC’s Reviewable Projects Regulation.
“Because I consider that the Cedar LNG Project has the potential for significant adverse effects, an environmental assessment (EA) must be undertaken and an EA certificate must be issued before the project may proceed,” Lindsay Luke, the EAO’s project assessment director, said in the letter.
The floating liquefaction units will be positioned along the west shore of Douglas Channel, adjacent to Pacific Traverse Energy's proposed propane export terminal and directly across from Kitamaat Village, Haisla Nation’s traditional home for more than 9,000 years. It represents the third LNG project located on traditional Haisla Nation territory, after the LNG Canada and Kitimat LNG projects.
Feed gas would be delivered to the jetty-moored liquefaction units through a pipeline connected to the Coastal GasLink pipeline, currently under construction to deliver gas to the LNG Canada project.
Ideally, Cedar LNG says in the project description that it would like to power the facility 100% using 215 MW of clean electricity from BC Hydro, and it’s currently in negotiations with the provincial crown utility to that end. However, on-site self-generation remains an option, and the regulatory review process will examine the impacts associated with both options.
The project description for Cedar LNG has been forwarded to the federal government, which will determine whether the project is subject to review under the federal Impact Assessment Act, 2019 – part of the contentious Bill C-69 which has dramatically altered the energy infrastructure landscape in Canada.
Pending the outcome of that assessment, Luke said, BC’s EAO will work closely with federal agencies to determine whether a substituted or coordinated EA will be conducted. The project description indicates that Cedar LNG will seek a substituted process.
Under substitution, the BC EAO will conduct a single assessment that both the provincial and federal governments will rely on to make separate decisions. A coordinated EA, by contrast, means that the EAO and the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada will work together to align their respective process and decisions.
“In the coming months, the EAO expects to issue an order under Section 11 of the Act detailing how the EA process will be conducted,” Luke wrote. “The Section 11 order will outline the scope, procedures and methods for conducting the assessment, including specific requirements for consultation with indigenous nations.”
Pending regulatory approvals and a final investment decision, the project, at an estimated capital cost of between C$1.8 bn (US$1.35bn) and C$2.5bn, will be built in one phase, with construction starting in 2Q 2022 and employing up to 500 construction workers. The facility would be operational in the second quarter of 2025, creating between 70 and 100 operating jobs.
In 2015, Cedar LNG was awarded a 25-year natural gas export license by the National Energy Board (now the Canada Energy Regulator), authorising the export of up to 2.9mn mt/yr of LNG, the equivalent of some 142bn ft3/day of natural gas. In its project descriptions, Cedar LNG suggests that it may seek a 15-year extension to that license.
(Banner photo courtesy Haisla Nation; artist Lyle Wilson)