LNG Canada Slowing Kitimat Work
Canada’s only active liquefaction project, the Anglo-Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada project at Kitimat, on BC’s northern coast, is slowing work at the site in light of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“Exercising an abundance of caution that prioritises the safety of our workers and the community, LNG Canada, JGC Fluor (JFJV) and our subcontractors have reviewed the staffing level at our site in Kitimat,” LNG Canada said in a statement posted to its website and updated on March 17. “Demobilisation of staff in non-business critical positions has already commenced with personnel leaving Kitimat, with some following our work from home policy.”
Essential work that will continue at the site, the company said, includes seasonal activities that must take place within regulatory windows, work that has already begun and needs to be completed to ensure the area is safely secured, and the unloading of material delivery vessels at the Kitimat port.
“This work will be conducted with additional safety, health and hygiene precautions that follow recommended social distancing protocols and all other current recommendations for best practices.”
The number of staff actually on the ground in Kitimat will gradually be reduced to half of current levels over the coming weeks, LNG Canada said, primarily by reducing the number of workers flying in on rotation. If necessary, LNG Canada, the JGC Fluor joint venture and site contractors will implement a final reduction of staff on site to critical levels required to maintain site security and environmental controls.
“Business travel between our construction sites in Kitimat and all other regional and international locations continues to be heavily restricted.”
Coastal GasLink, which is in the early stages of construction on the 670-km pipeline that will feed the LNG Canada plant, is also restricting on-site staff, in the field and in the office, to those in critical operations, including construction. All workers associated with the project, whether employed by CGL or its prime contractors, are subject to the suspension of business travel, and all meetings will be conducted via technology options to avoid personal contact.
With pending spring break-up conditions reducing access due to soft ground conditions, CGL is working primarily with local workers and prioritising critical and essential work paths, such as erosion and sediment control, and clearing the right-of-way in sections to ensure river and wildlife safety. Non-critical work will be delayed, CGL said.
At the project’s many workforce-accommodation centres, International SOS (ISOS) has been engaged as the medical expert for CGL and its prime contractors, and they will provide ongoing guidance in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. ISOS officials and medics are in the camps and on work-sites providing round-the-clock support, including monitoring workers for symptoms and educating accommodation staff in what to look for.