B.C.'s Environment Assessment Office has begun its review of a liquefied natural gas export facility near Squamish, and a large-volume gas pipeline from Coquitlam to supply it.
FortisBC has applied to twin its existing 10-inch diameter gas pipeline to the former Woodfibre pulp mill with a 24-inch line that would supply gas to load 40 tankers of LNG per year for export to Asia.
The existing pipeline right-of-way and an idle industrial site with barge sites put the Woodfibre LNG project at the front of the pack for the B.C. government's push to develop an LNG export industry, with operation to begin as early as spring 2017. Woodfibre is smaller than most proposals for the Kitimat and Prince Rupert areas, which continue to study the cost of much longer pipelines from northeast B.C. gas fields.
The Singapore-based investors behind Woodfibre LNG plan to use BC Hydro electricity and gas supplied by FortisBC's existing network that supplies residential and industrial customers around the province.
The 180-day assessment period began this week with acceptance of the pipeline and plant applications. EAO public open houses for the LNG plant are scheduled for 4-8 p.m. Jan. 28 at the CN Roundhouse in Squamish, 5-9 p.m. Jan. 29 at Caulfield Elementary School in West Vancouver and 4-8 p.m. Jan. 30 at Bowen Island Community School.
The existing pipeline starts from Eagle Mountain in north Coquitlam, runs northwest to Squamish and continues across the Sunshine Coast and Texada Island to supply gas customers in Powell River and Vancouver Island, including Victoria.
The expansion includes additional compressors at existing stations at Eagle Mountain and Port Mellon north of Gibsons, plus a new compressor station at Squamish. The proposed pipeline would be buried, except for aerial crossings.
FortisBC says in its application the project will require access roads and temporary work space, but no worker construction camps are anticipated.
FortisBC started construction last fall on another LNG project, the expansion of its Tilbury Island facility in Delta to supply transportation users such as trucks and LNG-powered ships.