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.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

MP asks Minister of Transport for review of safe crew levels on new ferries

The new ferries were approved to run with smaller crew sizes, raising safety concerns

$8,179,919 in grant funding announced for North Island communities

This local funding is part of over $228 million in grants going to B.C. communities.

Port Hardy earns Bear Smart certification

Community committed to living safely alongside bears

Funding police would be ‘most expensive single budget item we would have’ says Port Hardy councillor

‘we’re not panicking — I can’t see our population numbers jumping up that high that quick’

Small physically distant running event with big heart held in Port Hardy

Indigenous Run/Walk program went ahead this year, with some downsizing due to COVID-19

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Two injured hikers airlifted from North Vancouver Island Park

Campbell River and Comox Search and Rescue hoist team rescued the injured from Cape Scott Provincial Park

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Lower Mainland teacher facing child pornography charges

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

Most Read