A FortisBC employee walks past a storage tank and delivery trucks at the existing FortisBC Tilbury LNG facility before the groundbreaking for an expansion project in Delta, B.C., on Tuesday October 21, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

FortisBC eyes expansions after inking deal to send LNG by container to China

The FortisBC shipments to China are to be delivered in 60 specialized shipping containers per week

FortisBC is considering further expansions to its liquefaction facility on the Fraser River near Vancouver after landing its first term contract to send Canadian LNG to China.

The utility company, which has operated its Tilbury LNG plant since 1971, said Tuesday it has signed a two-year contract to ship 53,000 tonnes per year of super-cooled gas by the summer of 2021 to Chinese LNG distributor Top Speed Energy Corp.

FortisBC’s recently completed $400-million expansion project took capacity from about 35,000 to 250,000 tonnes per year, allowing a facility that had been used mainly for natural gas storage to become a commercial LNG production plant, said Doug Stout, vice-president of market development and external relations.

“This plant allows us to serve the local marine and transportation markets as well as the smaller-scale export opportunities,” he said.

“We’re looking at further expansions both for this type of market and for the marine and truck transportation markets.”

He says the company is considering an expansion of similar size in the next couple of years, adding there’s room on site to eventually reach capacity of three to four million tonnes per year.

Marine demand for LNG fuel is expected to rise next January when the International Maritime Organization begins to enforce new emissions standards designed to curb pollution produced by ships burning high-sulfur heavy oil.

Small-scale shipments of liquefied natural gas are a growing component in the global LNG sector, especially when the customers are small or unconnected to a pipeline grid, said Alex Munton, Houston-based principal analyst, Americas LNG, for Wood Mackenzie.

“Fortis certainly seems to be developing something of a niche,” he said in an interview.

“There’s a market for this LNG. I mean, we see it in the Caribbean, ISO containers being shipped down to small island markets like Barbados and so forth. It is a means of serving a particular market.”

The FortisBC shipments to China are to be delivered in 60 specialized shipping containers per week.

The volumes, sufficient to heat about 30,000 average British Columbia households per year, will go to smaller commercial and industrial customers in China who don’t have access to natural gas, potentially displacing coal or fuel oil, said Stout.

The contract is modest compared to what’s planned for the Shell Canada-led LNG Canada facility at Kitimat, B.C., a $40-billion project approved last fall that is expected to produce about 14 million tonnes per year after it opens in 2023 or 2024.

“It’s a different ballgame, definitely, from what they’re doing,” said Stout.

His company estimates it would cost $3 billion to $4 billion to build up to three to four million tonnes per year, he said, adding that doesn’t include providing for the required increase in electricity to operate the plant, nor the additional natural gas supply and delivery.

FortisBC says it has been selling small shipments of LNG in China on a spot basis since 2017.

It is owned by St. John’s, N.L.-based Fortis Inc.

ALSO READ: Environmental assessment underway for proposed Delta LNG jetty

ALSO READ: B.C. man’s challenge of controversial LNG pipeline in hands of NEB

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Teen sexually assaulted at Radley Beach

A sexual assault took place at Radley Beach in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Missing boy was dehydrated but in good health

The boy who went missing near Mackenzie was found to be somewhat… Continue reading

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Most Read