On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Woodfibre Natural Gas Limited (Woodfibre) announced its plans to use electricity from BC Hydro to power the compression of natural gas at its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Squamish, B.C. According to Woodfibre, the decision not to use traditional natural gas-fired compression will decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.
The Woodfibre LNG project is owned and operated by Woodfibre, a corporation established in British Columbia with offices in Vancouver (headquarter) and Calgary. Woodfibre is planning to develop its the Woodfibre LNG project on the former Western Forest Products pulp mill in the Squamish area which is already connected to BC Hydro’s transmission grid. The Woodfibre LNG project’s original cost was tabbed at $1.6 billion but with electricity being more expensive than natural gas, this shift in energy choice will likely increase project costs. In an interview following the announcement, Woodfibre vice-president Byng Giraud would not indicate how much more expensive the Woodfibre LNG project would be to develop but stated that its decision was a product of community consultations in which Squamish residents’ greatest concern about the project was air shed pollution.
Woodfibre anticipates that the Woodfibre LNG project could export approximately two million tonnes of LNG per year, which is about one-tenth of the anticipated volume of some of the large LNG projects proposed for northern B.C. Currently, Woodfibre has already been issued an export licence for its LNG but is still awaiting both provincial and federal environmental approvals. Based on its schedule, Woodfibre hopes to make a final investment decision in 2015 and could be operational by the first quarter of 2017.