AltaGas commits to LNG terminal by 2018, challenges international report

CALGARY – The CEO of AltaGas Ltd. says his company is on track to building Canada’s first liquefied natural gas export terminal by 2018, challenging an international report that said no such facility will be built in the country by 2020.

“We think we’ll prove them wrong in this decade,” David Cornhill said Monday in an interview following a report last week by the International Energy Agency.

Cornhill said the company is making progress on plans for the Douglas Channel LNG terminal in British Columbia, which an AltaGas-led consortium took over earlier this year.

“We have nothing that we see at this point that will stop us,” he said. “It is a lot of work, there are some tight timelines, so it’s not a walk in the park, but clearly we think it’s achievable.”

AltaGas has not yet made a final investment decision on the project but expects to by the end of the year.

The Douglas Channel project is much smaller than some of the other LNG projects being proposed for B.C., with its first phase designed to ship about 550,000 tonnes of LNG per year.

In contrast, Royal Dutch Shell’s proposed LNG terminal in Kitimat, B.C., would have an annual capacity of 24 million tonnes, and the Petronas-led project in Port Edward, B.C., could ship as much as 22.2 million tonnes per year.

The Douglas Channel terminal would be based on a floating barge rather than on land and would make use of an existing gas pipeline that goes to Kitimat.

“I think small LNG facilities are far better from an environment perspective,” said Cornhill. “We think it’s easier, the impact is lower, floating technology reduces the impact on land, cost control is better.”

Dirk Lever, an energy analyst at Altacorp Capital, said in an email that he expects Douglas Channel to be the first new LNG facility on B.C.’s northern coast.

Pacific Oil and Gas Ltd.’s 2.1-million-tonne-per-year Woodfire LNG project near Squamish is also at an advanced stage, but the project has been running into some local opposition.