Quebec utility Gaz Metro said Monday that subsidiary Gaz Metro LNG LP has finished an expansion project that will triple the capacity of its natural gas liquefaction facility in Montreal, with eyes toward supplying the capacity-constrained New England market.
The Montreal-based energy provider said the expansion project, announced in 2014, officially triples the annual liquefaction capacity of its Montreal liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant from 3 Bcf to 9 Bcf. The project is backed by Gaz Metro and Investissement Quebec.
In addition to supplying demand from industrial users in the Province of Quebec, the Montreal plant -- which delivers LNG via tanker trucks -- is well-positioned to supply the New England region, including National Grid's Massachusetts and Rhode Island local distribution companies, the utilities said.
"LNG plays an important role in meeting the demands of our customers on the coldest days of the year," said National Grid’s John Vaughn, vice president of energy procurement. "Demand for natural gas in New England is rising, and partners like Gaz Metro allow us to diversify our supply chain and are playing an important role by providing LNG that lets us serve customers efficiently throughout the year.”
"In addition to serving robust demand for LNG in the Province of Quebec, we have now, more than ever, an increased capacity to deliver LNG to local distribution companies, industries, and other customers in the Northeast U.S.," said Martin Imbleau, senior vice president of operations, transport and development of New Energies at Gaz Metro. "Gaz Metro offers clean-burning, safe, affordable natural gas with a long and proven track record. We are the U.S. Northeast’s neighbor, and we are pleased to be able to play a more significant role as New Englanders' energy solutions partner."
The official completion of the Gaz Metro LNG expansion comes the same week as a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce outlining the economic repercussions of continuing policies that block or restrict new pipeline construction into the Northeast.
New England has seen price spikes and volatility in recent years due to limited natural gas capacity during periods of peak demand in winters, when heating and electric generation compete in the regional energy mix.
National Grid had signed on to co-develop the Access Northeast expansion of Algonquin Gas Transmission LLC's system, a joint venture of Spectra Energy and Eversource Energy. That project, which aimed to improve reliability and reduce volatility by supplying electric generators reluctant to commit to firm transportation, was sent back to the drawing board after failing to gain state regulatory approval.