LNG project granted licence

Steelhead LNG has successfully applied for a licence to transport liquified natural gas.

Steelhead LNG has successfully applied for a licence to transport liquified natural gas from the Malahat LNG project’s proposed floating liquefaction and export terminal at Bamberton.

The application and four others, the remainder for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations project near Port Alberni, were approved by the National Energy Board but still need to be scrutinized by the Governor in Council before final approval is granted.

“We welcome this decision by the National Energy Board, which represents a significant milestone for our company and our projects,” Steelhead LNG CEO Nigel Kuzemko said. “We’ve made tremendous strides in progressing our projects over the past year, including our announcement of Malahat LNG, our agreement with Williams subsidiary Northwest Pipeline LLC to commence with the design and approval process for a proposed natural gas pipeline to Vancouver Island, and our agreement with Höegh LNG, for Höegh LNG and Bechtel to perform the pre-front end engineering and design work for Malahat LNG.”

All told, the five licences would permit the export of up to 30 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year for 25 years from the two proposed Island LNG projects — six million tonnes per year is allocated to the Malahat LNG project alone.

“Today’s approval is exciting news, as it represents one of many steps in the process ahead for Malahat LNG and the proposed Steelhead LNG facilities on Malahat Nation lands,” Malahat Nation CEO Lawrence Lewis said on Friday. “This proposed project represents a significant opportunity for Malahat Nation to demonstrate and exercise its inherent right to self-determination, the protection of its aboriginal rights and title, and a meaningful role in environmental stewardship and reclamation of the marine resource so important to its people.”

Announced Aug. 20, the Malahat LNG project promises to create upwards of 200 high-paying long-term jobs once the floating liquefaction facility and complementary land-based operations are up and running, in addition to “hundreds of additional indirect jobs on Vancouver Island in a wide variety of sectors, as well as specific training and employment opportunities,” according to a press release.

Steelhead LNG and the Malahat band believe there would be a “significant” economic impact as a result of the project, including “up to 30 years of revenue generation, from construction to operation to decommissioning, for local, provincial and federal governments.”

Controversial from the start, the project has already received opposition from neighbours, other citizens of the Cowichan Valley, the nearby Tsartlip First Nation, and Green Party candidate Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi.