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Floating LNG Export Project Proposed for BC

Yet another would-be exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from British Columbia (BC) has joined the applicant queue at Canada's National Energy Board (NEB).

On Thursday Orca LNG Ltd. applied for a license to export 24 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) from a scalable floating facility it plans to develop in the Prince Rupert, BC, region. The planned volume would place the project among the largest proposed for BC, according to a government website that provides data on LNG terminal projects.

"The project is planned to consist of six floating liquefaction storage and offloading (FLNG) vessels, permanently moored near-shore as they become available and are placed into operation," Orca LNG said in its filing. "Each FLNG vessel is expected to have liquefaction capabilities, LNG storage capacity of 250,000 cubic meters, and be able to deliver LNG to off-taking LNG carriers by utilizing a ship-to-ship process. Each vessel will be able to liquefy approximately 4-5 mtpa of LNG."

Orca said it expected to begin exports in 2019 with one vessel and ramp up exports as more vessels are completed and installed.

"Although site selection has not been finalized, the candidates have been narrowed to two, both in the Prince Rupert, BC, area," Orca principal Grant Speer told NGI in an email. "The site selection process is being conducted by Worley Parsons. It is currently anticipated that a series of six FLNG vessels will be moored at the Orca Energy Hub for the term of the project."

Gas to be exported would most likely come from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. "Given the integrated nature of the North American gas markets and pipeline network, gas supply could also potentially come from other Canadian or North American basins, directly or by displacement, over the life of the LNG terminal," Orca said in the filing.

The company told the NEB it expected other participants to take positions in the project, in terminal facilities, pipelines, FLNG units, gas supply, off-take agreements, upstream investments and marine LNG transport vessels. "Orca LNG will be jointly developing each FLNG vessel with a large company who will generally be the end-user of the LNG," Speer told NGI. "These companies, to date, are all Global 500 companies with the financial resources to ensure the development of their respective FLNG vessel."

How the gas would get to the liquefaction facilities has yet to be determined. Several pipeline options are being considered. "These options include existing systems, expansions, new third-party systems, and new proprietary systems." Orca said it is in confidential/early stage talks with several pipeline companies about gas delivery services and/or construction of a dedicated pipeline.

The term sought for exports is 25 years, to begin on the date of the first export under the license. Orca asked the NEB for authorization to exceed the maximum annual volume of exports by up to 15% to allow for system flexibility.

Orca LNG's filing says it is a Canadian company and gives its business address as Cypress, TX.

The Orca application follows by days an application to the NEB from Cedar LNG Export Ltd., an economic development arm of Kitimat's aboriginal Haisla Nation for three 25-year licenses to ship about 20 Tcf of BC gas at a combined rate of up to 2 Bcf/d (see Daily GPI, Aug. 29).

Orca is the 19th 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.

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