KOGAS selling stake in Kitimat’s LNG Canada

Reuters is reporting that the Korean Gas Corp is selling part of its stake in the Shell-led LNG Canada project in Kitimat.

Reuters says KOGAS CEO Jang Seok-hyo told the World Energy Congress that the company is considering selling 5 to 10 per cent of its stake in the LNG Canada project. It currently holds 20 per cent.

The sale is apparently an effort to improve the company’s bottom line.  The South Korean government recently began a review of state-owned oil and gas investments with are suffering from poor profits.

Kogas, which is the world’s largest corporate buyer of LNG, is also considering selling part of its 15 per cent holding in the $18.5 billion Gladstone LNG (GLNG) project in Australia.

One of the Kitimat LNG projects plans to self-generate power for liquefaction plant

At least one of the two large liquified natural gas projects in Kitimat is, at least at this point, planning to self-generate the power required using a gas-fired, steam-driven electrical generation system.

A job ad posted this weekend by the headhunting firm Fircroft is seeking a Lead Project Engineer, Power Plant for “Our client, a major international owner/operating company, requires expertise for their LNG mega-project in Western Canada.”

The job, which requires 20 years and more experience, would be located in Calgary for eighteen months, then move to Kitimat for the remainder of a four year contract paying from $1650 to $1850 per day.

By Fircroft describing the job as a “mega-project” means that the client is either Shell’s LNG Canada project or the Chevron and Apache KM LNG project, since the much smaller BC LNG project could not be described as a “mega-project.”

As well as the standard qualifications for a senior engineer, the job posting lists:

• Power Plant design, operation and construction experience required.
• Boiler design, construction, operation, and commissioning experience required.
• Heat Recovery Steam Generation (HRSG) design, processes, construction, operation, and commissioning experience required.
• Integrates inherent safety in design and operability in concept selection and development for gas resource opportunities.

Providing the power for the Kitimat and other northwestern LNG projects is becoming controversial. The power is needed to cool the natural gas so it can be loaded onto tankers for shipment to customers.

The BC government recently announced a $650,000 study of the cumulative effect on air quality for the planned industrial expansion in the Kitimat area, including the Rio Tinto Alcan Kitimat modernization project, which would increase the amount of sulphur dioxide emissions, combined with as many as three LNG projects and the associated increase in tanker traffic, as well as the possible and even more controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

At the time of the BC announcement, the Globe and Mail reported:

If natural gas is used either for direct-drive or combined-cycle electricity generation to produce the energy required for the proposed Shell LNG facility at Kitimat, approximately 300 million cubic feet of natural gas would be burned. The proposed Chevron Apache LNG facility could burn approximately 140 million cubic feet of natural gas.

The other alternative for powering the LNG plants is to use hydro-electricity, and BC Hydro at the moment doesn’t have the capacity to supply the LNG projects with power. One possibility is the controversial Site C dam project in the Peace River basin, which is also under review by the BC government. 

Although the job is restricted to Canadian citizens or permanent residents, it is clear that the engineer will have to also answer to the project’s overseas partners since one requirement is to conduct:  “Overseas VIP workshops, including Value Engineering, Process Simplification, Process Optimization and Design to Capacity.”

Kitimat in “horse race” with Australian LNG project Chevron says

Gorgon project in Australia
The Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia. Chevron says  Gorgon Project work continues to progress with the installation of the second of three amine absorbers, two condensate stabilization modules and a recycled gas compression module. (Chevron Australia)

Kitimat LNG is in a “horse race” with an LNG project in Western Australia–and at this point, according to the Australian media–Kitimat is winning, even though the Australian Gorgon project is much further ahead while the Kitimat LNG project at Bish Cove hasn’t really started.

The Australian reports come from the same conference call Chevron held with financial analysts last week, when the company said the final investment decision for Kitimat LNG has been postponed to 2014.

The Brisbane Times  is quoting Chevron as saying that expansion of the Gorgon “will be in direct competition with exports from North America, which have a cost advantage.”

Chevron has a 47.3 per cent stake in Gorgon. Shell which is developing its own project at Kitimat, LNG Canada, has a 25 per cent stake in Gorgon. ExxonMobil holds 25 per cent.

”In the case of Gorgon train four … we are happy to see both of them move forward,” Chevron vice-chairman George Kirkland told analysts late last week, referring to the competition with Kitimat. ”[There is] a bit of a horse race between them at this point.”

Shipping gas to north Asia from Canada is cheaper than exports from Australia, he said, although the challenge is to find markets for the gas. ”The development cost at Kitimat … may end up being less than in the case of Gorgon,” he said, which ”has the benefit of [being a] brownfield development on the plant side”.

”We’re going to offer volumes … and interest in the plant as a combination,” Mr Kirkland said of the Kitimat marketing plans. ”We think that’s a big advantage.

”Our goal is to maintain our … first-mover advantage … We have had some initial discussions with Asian buyers.”

The Gorgon project in the northwestern area of Western Australia. (Chevron Australia)
The Gorgon project in the northwestern area of Western Australia. (Chevron Australia)

According to Wikipedia, the Gorgon area of Western Australia is the site for a number of liquified natural gas projects. The projects are off shore and close to the export terminals, much different from British Columbia where the gas fields are in the Peace River district in the northeast of the province.

Wikipedia says

The Gorgon field is centered about 130 kilometres (81 mi) off the north-west coast of Western Australia, where the water depth is approximately 200 metres (660 ft). Other fields in the group lie to the north, such as Jansz-Io, which covers an area of 2,000 square kilometres (770 sq mi), in a water depth of 1,300 metres (4,300 ft).

Chevron says

It is one of the world’s largest natural gas projects and the largest single resource development in Australia’s history.
The Gorgon Project is developing the Gorgon and Jansz-Io gas fields, located within the Greater Gorgon area, between 130 and 220 kilometres off the northwest coast of Western Australia.
It includes the construction of a 15.6 million tonne per annum (MTPA) liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to supply 300 terajoules of gas per day to Western Australia.
Gorgon LNG will be off loaded via a 2.1 kilometre long loading jetty for transport to international markets. The domestic gas will be piped to the Western Australian mainland.
The Gorgon joint venture is investing approximately $2 billion in the design and construction of the world’s largest commercial-scale CO2 injection facility to reduce the project’s overall greenhouse gas emissions by between 3.4 and 4.1 million tonnes per year. The Australian Government has committed $60 million to the Gorgon Carbon Dioxide Injection Project as part of the Low Emissions Technology Demonstration Fund.

Gorgon project wharf
A view of construction on the 2.1-km (1.3-mile ) LNG wharf with 24 caissons in place. (Chevron Australia)

 

In May, Reuters reported that the $52 billion Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) development was 60 per cent complete. At the time, Reuters said Chevron planned to start engineering and design work for an expansion by the end of the year.

Parts of the Gorgon project are in an environmentally sensitive area, Barrow Island, which has been a nature reserve in Australia since 1910.

Wikipedia says

Barrow Island’s ecology. The island is a Class A nature reserve, and home to theflatback turtle (classified as a vulnerable species) and numerous other animals not found on the Australian mainland. Other concerns are related to the adequacy of quarantine procedures on Barrow Island to protect against the introduction of non-endemic species, and risks associated with geological sequestration of CO2.It was reported in November 2011 that native animals on Barrow Island had been accidentally killed daily with a known total of 1550 since construction began.

Chevron says

The Gorgon Project is being undertaken in accordance with strict environmental standards to preserve the island’s ecology.
Central to the Gorgon Project’s commitment to protect the conservation values of Barrow Island is the Quarantine Management System (QMS), which directs
the Project’s quarantine operations. The QMS is the largest non-government quarantine initiative in the world and was considered to be “likely world’s best practice” by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority. The Project’s gas processing facilities are being constructed within a 300 hectare ground disturbance limit, which represents 1.3 percent of Barrow Island’s uncleared land area.

Gorgon Project Overview Chevron document pdf

Gorgon-Progress Update August 2, 2013 pdf

Shell’s LNG Canada holds open house for Kitimat

The Shell LNG Canada project officially opened its Information Centre at the old Methanex site offices in Kitimat on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.  About  180 people attended the event, which included a barbeque, kids activities with face painting,  a tour  of the office/information centre and a chance to  community to meet the LNG Canada project team. Shell’s partners in LNG Canada are Mitsubishi, PetroChina and Korea’s Kogas.

 

Sammy Robinson

Samuel “Sammy” Robinson, Chief Jassee of the Haisla Nation, offered an opening prayer and welcoming remarks on behalf of the Haisla for the project in Haisla traditional territory (Robin Rowland)

Rob Seeley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LNG Canada project Director Rob Seeley makes opening remarks. “We are confident that the Shell-led LNG Canada Project Team has the combined expertise to safely and successfully design and operate this project. We thank you for welcoming us to your community and look forward to working together to develop a project that we can all benefit from and be proud of.” (Robin Rowland)

Craig Jackson

LNG Canada’s Craig Jackson explains shipping issues to Kitimat residents touring the LNG Canada open house. (Robin Rowland)

Seiichi  Tsurumi

LNG Canada’s Seiichi Tsurumi speaks to Kitimat residents touring the information centre. (Robin Rowland)

Watching video

Kitimat residents touring the information centre watch a video on LNG tankers. (Robin Rowland)

 

LNG Canada building Kitimat

The LNG Canada information centre and office building during the open house. (Robin Rowland)