Quebec officials last week gave the go ahead to the Rabaska liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal proposed to be built on the St. Lawrence River across from Quebec City.

Construction on the C$840 million (US$866 million) project is expected to begin next year, and the terminal could be in operation by the end of 2011, according to Rabaska. It would be built at the deepwater port in Levis to handle LNG tankers and include a port jetty, two reservoirs and a regasification facility. Rabaska also would construct a 42-kilometer (26-mile) pipeline to the TransQuebec & Maritimes system.

Quebec Natural Resources Minister Claude Bechard said declining gas supplies from Canada's western provinces prompted the LNG port's approval.

"Given that we are at the end of the pipe, it is more and more important for us to diversify our supply of natural gas," Bechard said.

Canada's Gaz Metro LP and Enbridge Inc., along with France's Gaz de France, are spearheading the project (see NGI, July 16). To ensure LNG supplies, the chairman of the management committee for Rabaska told Reuters that Gazprom, Russia's gas monopoly, was considering joining the project to secure LNG supplies from Russia.

Opposition to the project, which has been steady, continues.

"That is what the Liberal government of [Quebec Premier] Jean Charest offers us today, to depend on natural gas that comes from a politically unstable country," said Yves St-Laurent, a spokesman for the Rabat-joie coalition. A rally is set to oppose the project on Sunday.

The provincial government in June approved a bid by Petro-Canada and Trans-Canada Corp. to build the first LNG terminal on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Gros-Cacouna, which is east of Quebec City (see NGI, July 2). However, that project will be delayed to 2012.

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