Early 2017 construction seen for Squamish LNG plant near Vancouver

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      A final investment decision is expected in 2016 for a proposed terminal to process and export liquefied natural gas (LNG) out of Howe Sound.

      Having secured federal, provincial, and First Nation environmental certificates, the company behind the Woodfibre LNG project in the district of Squamish has surmounted major regulatory hurdles.

      In March this year, Ottawa issued a decision stating that the project located north of Vancouver is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

      There are still a number of regulatory obstacles left, according to Byng Giraud, vice president of corporate affairs and country manager of Woodfibre LNG Ltd.

      But Giraud is optimistic that Woodfibre’s parent company, the Singapore-based Pacific Oil & Gas Limited, may be able to make a final investment decision this year.

      That could mean that when voters in B.C. choose their next provincial government in May 2017, work has already begun for the project estimated to cost between $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion.

      “We can be in construction before the election,” Giraud told the Straight in a phone interview.

      The Woodfibre executive acknowledged that there had been some delays in securing environmental certificates.

      In April 2015, Giraud told the Straight in a phone interview that a final investment decision was anticipated that year.

      Giraud also said at that time that the project will be in “heavy construction” around 2017.

      According to Giraud, the current market price for LNG is $4.50 per MMBtu (one million British thermal units), which is far below the sweet spot of around $10.

      “It’s really challenging. I’d be lying if we said otherwise,” he said.

      However, Giraud also noted that long-term contracts carry better prices. Construction for the Woodfibre project will take two years.

      Woodfibre LNG is one of 20 proposed LNG projects in B.C.