ExxonMobil to Invest in New Canadian Liquefied Natural Gas Export Terminal
Los Angeles, CA – ExxonMobil Corp. has released a 141-page report unveiling plans to invest upwards of $25 billion in the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export terminal at Tuck Inlet, near Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. The decision by the Irving, Texas-based global energy giant comes as Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas has decided to postpone its decision to build an LNG terminal in the Canadian province.
The company was reportedly wary of projected construction costs and is seeking more time to consult with environmental groups and the Canadian Indian, or ‘First Nation’ tribes that could be impacted by the terminal’s operations.
ExxonMobil and its Canadian unit, Imperial Oil Ltd., are jointly working on the plans for the proposed operation— dubbed the West Coast Canada LNG Project (WCC LNG)—which would take an estimated seven years to complete and, when operational in 2024, have the capacity to ship 15 million tons of LNG to Asia annually.
It will take at least two years to secure an environmental assessment from the British Columbian provincial government with engineering studies slated for completion by the end of 2017.
WCC LNG won an LNG export license from the National Energy Board in late 2013 and immediately began working on its “project description” report for British Columbia’s provincial environmental regulator. Projected construction costs for the WCC LNG could range from $15 billion to $25 billion based on whether the project will focus on a ‘shore-barge-ship’ transfer facility or a more conventional shore-side terminal. A possible second phase would boost the terminals capacity to 30 million tons of LNG per year, as well as significantly increase construction costs.
The capital cost for the first phase could range from $15 billion to $25 billion, depending on factors such as whether a barge-based marine facility or an onshore terminal is built. In either event, the project would be one of the largest investments in British Columbia’s nascent LNG industry.
According to the report, WCC LNG will not be constructing its own pipeline to deliver LNG to the terminal from the huge natural gas field in northwestern British Columbia. Instead, the product planned for export would be sourced by creating “industry-sharing synergies” with one of the two pipeline projects envisaged for major LNG terminals in the Prince Rupert region.
ExxonMobil Corp. is no stranger to the LNG business. The company has been involved in developing several LNG export operations over the past four decades and currently has interests in LNG capacity of approximately 65 million tons per year in Qatar, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. More than 14 LNG-related projects are planned in British Columbia with industry analysts expecting only three or four of them to be eventually approved by provincial and national authorities.