No new LNG expansion pending from FortisBC on Vancouver Island

Firm says no deal in place with Alaskan applicant, existing Mt. Hayes plant near Nanaimo Airport not suitable for export proposal.

The Mt. Hayes liquified natural gas facility on Mt. Hayes northwest of Ladysmith. FortisBC says it has no plans to utilize it as part of an export proposal being made by an Alaskan firm.

FortisBC says it has no plans to build or supply a new liquefied natural gas operation on Vancouver Island now, or in the near future, or to expand its existing plant.

And any Island connections to a new LNG export proposal that surfaced earlier this month are tenuous at best.

Questions arose on the heels of a report the Alaskan firm Crowley Holdings had applied for an export permit to annually ship up 10 billion cubic feet of excess Canadian natural gas to foreign markets.

That application made reference to the FortisBC LNG storage plant on Mt. Hayes, southwest of the Nanaimo Airport, and led to internet speculation that something new was pending at or near that location.

According to Fortis corporate communications manager Michael Allison, that is not the case.

Allison acknowledged his company may have interest in striking a deal with Crowley at some point, but said no negotiations have taken place. Not only that, he added that any potential future deal would be focused on the expanding FortisBC LNG plant in Delta, not at Mt. Hayes.

“That facility (Mt. Hayes) is not designed for that. Any kind of new activity would be at our facility in Delta,” he said.

Crowley spokesman Matt Slevert confirmed the Mt. Hayes facility was included in its National Energy Board application because it is part of a network that could be used to help feed LNG exports, not because Crowley has immediate hopes to utilize the facility itself.

According to Allison, Delta’s Tilbury plant – operating since 1971 – and the Mt. Hayes plant are the only two LNG facilities currently operating in B.C. Unlike most LNG proposals currently dominating the headlines, they are focused on serving the domestic, not international, market.

Opened in 2011, the Mt. Hayes facility essentially works as a reservoir to ensure Vancouver Island has a long-term supply of natural gas on hand in the event of any service interruption or sudden peak in demand. It cools the gas to a liquefied state and can store up to a month’s supply for the approximately 100,000 Vancouver Island homes and businesses that FortisBC serves.

That network is fed by a pipeline that was built in the early ’90s. It travels under the ocean from Powell River to Comox, then splits – one arm snaking north to Campbell River, the other south through the Mt. Hayes facility and on to Greater Victoria.

The only active new LNG proposal for the Island at the moment is Steelhead LNG’s two-pronged plan to build plants at Bamberton below the Malahat on the Saanich Inlet and at Sarita Bay along the Alberni canal – each to serve the export market.

Steelhead has National Energy Board approval for a licence to export up to 30 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year over a 25-year period from the two proposed sites.

The Malahat plant has come under fire from some neighbours around Saanich Inlet, including area First Nations, who say it comes with too much environmental risk. In February, the Cowichan Valley Regional District – home of the existing Mt. Hayes facility — passed a motion it was opposed to any LNG facility being located at Bamberton or anywhere else within the regional district.

— with a file from Craig Spence

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: SD69 working on how to organize schools for planned fall re-opening

Qualicum School District required to have plan to ministry by Aug. 26

Throwback: Parksville Makerspace shows off old Commodore 64 computer

Open house takes place Aug. 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COVID-19: Modified beach volleyball a hit in Parksville

Organizer happy to get popular summer game going

Ballenas students help keep essential community services going

Club donates $1,000 to SOS Grateful Hearts campaign

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

Maple Bay man rushed to hospital after being trapped under car

BC Ambulance and Maple Bay Fire Department attend scene on Wednesday morning

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Most Read