Prince Rupert LNG project delayed, others on track

B.C. Minister Rich Coleman says others are on track, and he's been invited to Malaysia to meet with Petronas execuives in November

Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman

British Gas has signalled a delay in its plans for completion of a major liquefied natural gas project at Prince Rupert until beyond 2020, but Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman says others are staying on schedule.

BG Canada president Madeline Whitaker described a “pause on Prince Rupert,” citing increasing supply of natural gas from the U.S. and elsewhere for the project that was to start construction by 2016. She emphasized in an interview with the Prince Rupert Northern View that work is continuing.

Coleman said Wednesday he hasn’t heard of any other delays in talks with LNG proponents, and he has been invited to visit Malaysia in November to meet with the CEO and board of Petronas about their large-scale plans.

“[BG’s] comments are basically relative to the financial statements and they’re just being prudent and looking forward, and that’s what they’ve told me,” Coleman said. “We haven’t seen any slowdown in progress of in any of the project development agreements we’ve been working on with these companies, so at this stage I’m still pretty confident.”

BG also has interests in U.S. sites where LNG import terminals are being converted to export for new gas reserves extracted from deep shale rock around North America. BG Group reported a 26 per cent drop in third-quarter operating profit this week, mostly from low oil prices and a decline in production from Egypt.

BG and its partner Spectra Energy received a federal export permit last year along with three other B.C. LNG project proponents. They announced a development agreement in 2012 to build a pipeline from Spectra’s hub of gas drilling and processing operations in northeastern B.C. to an 80-hectare plant site on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert.

Two other pipelines have also been proposed to supply gas to terminals at Kitimat. There are currently 18 LNG proposals for B.C., including small-scale operations using existing gas line rights of way to sites near Squamish and Port Alberni.

The B.C. government set its LNG production tax rate at 3.5 per cent in legislation introduced this month, down from a possible high of seven per cent. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said a softer international market for gas, a long-term deal to supply Russian pipeline gas to China and falling oil prices have affected the market forecast for LNG.

Coleman said proposals for global LNG production currently exceed the anticipated supply, so it’s expected that not all proposals in B.C. will go ahead.