The Canadian government plans to release a study soon on the risks the country would face if it allows liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to pass through Head Harbour Passage, according to a Canadian Embassy spokesman.

Head Harbour Passage is said to be a dangerous stretch of the Passamaquoddy Bay in southern New Brunswick, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border, and is at the center of an international dispute between the United States and Canadian governments. The dispute arose when Quoddy Bay LNG proposed routing tankers through Head Harbour to deliver LNG to its terminal project in Maine.

“Canada strongly supports LNG, but we have…concerns and that’s the reason why [we have] made U.S. officials know that we oppose having tankers go through Head Harbour Passage,” said Jonathan Sauve, deputy spokesman for the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC.

Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Michael H. Wilson “has made FERC aware of our opposition” to LNG tankers in Head Harbour Passage, he said (see Daily GPI, Feb. 16). “We claim that this is Canadian…waters. We have a right to regulate [them] as we see fit,” Sauve noted. The Quoddy Bay terminal project is pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a February letter to FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher, Wilson said Canada “[was] prepared to use domestic legal means to…prevent such passage from occurring.” But Sauve said Thursday “we’re not there at this point.”

He noted that Canada currently allows ships, including those headed for the U.S., to pass through Head Harbour Passage. But “when we feel that there’s risks for the safety of the inhabitants, we feel we have the right to regulate the use” of the waterways, Sauve said.

Quoddy Bay proposes to build a 2 Bcf LNG import terminal on a Native American reservation at Split Rock, ME, and a storage project in Perry, ME. The 15-acre site abuts the Passamaquoddy and Cobscook bays. LNG tankers would have to travel through Canadian waters to reach Quoddy Bay’s proposed terminal site.

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