Steelhead LNG halts work on Kwispaa plant, according to Huu‐ay‐aht First Nations

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      The future of a liquefied natural gas project on the west coast of Vancouver Island is very much in doubt today.

      It comes as a result of an open letter released by the Huu‐ay‐aht First Nations to its citizens.

      It states that Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG indicated to them that it has "ceased current project work on the Kwispaa LNG project".

      "We are deeply disappointed, and over the coming weeks your government will evaluate the implications of this decision by Steelhead LNG, identify all go-forward options, and assess how best to advance the interests of our citizens," wrote chief councillor Robert J. Dennis and head hereditary chief Taii Hawil ƛiišin (Derek Peters).

      The project was planned on a 475-hecare site on Nuumaqimyiis Bay (also known as Sarita Bay), 70 kilometres southwest of Port Alberni in Barkley Sound.

      It's co-managed by Huu-ay-aht First Nations and Steelhead LNG. In October, a description of the Kwispaa LNG project was submitted to the B.C. Environmental office and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

      The Huu-ay-aht First Nations held a referendum in 2017 in which there was strong support for the concept. According to the proponents, an agreement was reached with Hyundai Heavy Industries to design the plants production hulls.

      The plant was going to be fuelled by a proposed Steelhead LNG pipeline connecting Vancouver island to the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.

      The company's executive chair, Randy Jespersen, is a long-time B.C. pipeline company executive and the former CEO of Terasen.

      Plans called for Kwispaa LNG to be operational by the end of 2024, produce 12 million tonnes per annum. The company suggested that this capacity could eventually be doubled to 24 million tonnes per annum.

      In comparison, the massive LNG Canada plant being developed near Kitimat will initially export 14 million tonnes per annum.

      In 2017, Steelhead LNG abandoned plans to try to develop an LNG plant beside Saanich Inlet in partnership with the Malahat First Nations.