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Haisla Nation Seeking LNG Export Licenses for BC LNG Project

A jumbo, native-owned entry stepped forward Friday into the race to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia from the Kitimat seaport on the northern Pacific Coast of British Columbia (BC).

Cedar LNG Export Ltd., an economic development arm of Kitimat's aboriginal Haisla Nation, filed applications for three 25-year licenses to ship overseas a total of about 20 Tcf of BC gas at a combined rate of up to 2 Bcf/d.

The filings with the National Energy Board (NEB) envision construction starting in 2017-2020 of a network of six jetties or docks jutting out from Haisla land on the shore of Douglas Channel for floating LNG vessels. Each requested export license would enable operations by two jetties.

The plan calls for a mini-armada of six mobile processing plants, with each one capable of converting up to 400 MMcf/d of gas into liquid cargo for overseas deliveries.

Work is under way with international tanker firm Golar LNG to commission construction of the vessels in Singapore at the Keppel Shipyard, according to the applications.

With the project still in planning stages, Cedar LNG did not disclose cost estimates. Names of prospective partners in the terminals; Asian customers, BC gas suppliers and pipeline service providers were also undisclosed. Discussions are under way on all fronts with an array of industry participants, Cedar told the NEB.

Cedar grew out of Haisla plans to make LNG a central feature of long-range business, employment and community benefits development, the filings indicate. As trustee responsible for preserving and protecting native land, Canada's federal government this month enacted regulations enabling the Kitimat community to advance the strategy.

The Haisla previously agreed to lease parts of their coastal property to two other BC gas-export terminal projects, and to negotiate use of part of their claimed traditional territory with a third LNG scheme.

As an enthusiastic promoter of all LNG export proposals, the BC government is expected to give the Kitimat native proposal at least moral support, especially as a formula for aboriginal community development. Terminal construction and environmental approvals are under provincial jurisdiction, while long-distance pipelines in BC are NEB responsibilities along with export licenses.

Cedar is the 18th project that has matured to the point of formally requesting 20- to 25-year Canadian gas export licenses. All but three entries in the lineup have BC sites. Two have Oregon locations for proposals to re-export Canadian gas imported into the United States from BC and potentially Alberta. A lone east coast project plans blended shipments of Canadian and U.S. gas from a tanker terminal in Nova Scotia.

All the Canadian projects have told the NEB they will largely or entirely rely on as-yet undeveloped supplies of shale gas from vast deposits that can be tapped with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

None of the Canadian LNG schemes have announced securing contracts for all their proposed capacity from overseas buyers. Nor have final decisions been made to start building any of the proposed terminals or associated pipelines and shale extraction networks.

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