There is no immediate proposal on the books to export LNG offshore from an existing facility at Mount Hayes north of Ladysmith, according to the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the company that has included the Mount Hayes facility in an application to the National Energy Board.
Speculation about the possibility of LNG exports from Ladysmith were raised in a column by former CVRD Director Richard Hughes, who posts to a blog called Cowichan Conversations.
After questioning CVRD Chair Jon Lefebure’s concerns over a motion by the board to oppose LNG facilities anywhere in the Cowichan Valley, Hughes goes on to say; “Now it appears that further LNG operations are planned at Mt. Hayes north of Ladysmith in the North Oyster Electoral Area.”
He states later in the post that “we could end up being sandwiched between LNG facilities at or near the northern and southern boundaries of the Regional District.”
Hughes wonders how Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone and North Oyster Director Mary Marcotte might respond to the possibility that an “LNG facility and super tankers could be locating in their neighbourhoods.”
But the Chronicle could not confirm any immediate plans to export LNG from Mount Hayes.
“That’s the first I’ve heard that suggestion,” Lefebure said. “I haven’t heard any such suggestion.”
He said his concern with the CVRD motion opposing LNG export facilities in the Cowichan Valley is over the future impartiality the board has to preserve in the event it ever is asked to consider an application, not with any proposed project.
“The board has statutory authority in terms of rezonings, and by law the board has to treat it with an open mind,” he said.
Asked if the motion concerning LNG facilities would put them in a legal bind should an application ever come up, Lefebure said, “I think you are asking me to come to a legal conclusion I could not do, I am not a lawyer.”
Marcotte said she supported the motion opposed to LNG facilities in the CVRD, but with reservations. “It was one of those motions that was made last minute with no warning,” she said, adding that the Mount Hayes facility has not raised any concerns in the community.
A report in the Financial Post cited by Hughes says an Alaska based company, Crowley Holdings Inc., has applied to the National Energy Board for an export permit allowing shipment of up to 10 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually for 25 years.
“In its application filed March 1, the company said it plans to export Canadian LNG from FortisBC Energy Inc’s Tilbury LNG plant in Delta, B.C. and from Mount Hayes LNG plant on Vancouver Island,” states the FP article.
But Matt Slevert, with Crowley’s Alaska / U.S. West Coast LNG Service, said the company has no plans to export LNG from the Mount Hayes facility any time soon.
Slevert said the Mount Hayes facility was included in the NEB application because it’s part of a network that could be used to export LNG, not because Crowley has immediate plans to use the facility.
“To clarify that, it’s FortisBC that’s their main plant,” he said. “But both plants have to be mentioned.”
As for the 10 billion cubic feet per year permit being requested, he said that’s a number that allows for future needs.
“When you file these permits you have to put a ceiling on that,” Slevert said. “I think that’s just a number that should last for 25 years.”
He did not rule out the possibility that some day LNG exports could be made from the Mount Hayes facility.