Aurora LNG, a partnership headed by Nexen, the Canadian branch of CNOOC, one of China’s largest energy companies, has applied to the National Energy Board for an export licence to ship 24 million tonnes of liquified natural gas over 25 years to Asian customers from Grassy Point near Prince Rupert.
Two Japanese companies, Inpex Corp and JGC are partners with CNNOC in the joint venture.
The application comes just two weeks after the BC government gave Aurora “the right to pursue long-term access to Crown land” at Grassy Point, which is just south of the border with the Alaska Panhandle.
While the NEB is expected to grant the export licence with little difficulty, the company still has to go through environmental assessment and make a final investment decision.
So far none of the LNG projects in northwestern BC, including three in Kitimat where the NEB has already granted export licences, have been given that final go ahead from the boards of their parent companies. Tne NEB is also considering five other applications for LNG export licences.
At the time BC granted Nexen the potential tenure at Grassy Point, CEO Kevin Reinhart said: “Through project assessment and stakeholder consultation we are committed to examining the potential to build a best-in-class LNG facility – one that creates jobs, delivers lasting economic and social benefits and is developed with the environment top-of-mind.”
According to the BC government news release:
The agreement is for the northern part of Grassy Point, which covers 614.9 hectares of land, plus foreshore land equalling 158.7 hectares.
Aurora LNG will be examining the viability of constructing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant and export terminal at this location.
Under the agreement, Aurora LNG will pay $12 million to the Province upon signing the sole proponent agreement. Another $12 million will be paid by Aurora LNG on, or before, the first anniversary of the agreement, as long as the proponent wants the arrangement to continue.
The right to acquire the land for construction or long-term use remains a matter of future negotiations. If the land is acquired by Aurora LNG, the $24 million submitted to government will be subtracted from the final sale price.
Nexen’s plans include a natural gas liquefaction plant, LNG storage and a marine terminal to handle LNG tankers capable of carrying between 210,000 and 217,000 cubic metres of gas. The initial plans call for two trains with a possibility of two more if conditions in the always volatile LNG market warrant.
Nexen is in talks with a number of “major pipeline providers” and no pipeline route has been announced.
It is expected the first LNG shipment from Grassy Point would occur sometime between 2021 and 2023.