David Keane On Sukanto Tanoto-supported Woodfibre LNG Project

In early 2019, President of Woodfibre LNG Limited David Keane, shared his take on the Sukanto Tanoto-supported Woodfibre LNG project. The project, taking place in Canada, is set to be the second largest of its kind.

During an interview with Gastech Insights, David Keane spoke on the ongoing liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. According to him: “The Woodfibre LNG Project is moving forward, and we expect our project to be the second Canadian LNG export facility to move into construction. We will award an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract in early 2019, and once that contract has been finalised, we’ll be in a better position to provide more specifics on the schedule. The focus at the Woodfibre site right now is the multi-million-dollar clean-up of the foreshore.

Tanoto

“We are also working through some permitting, including a facilities permit from the British Columbia Oil & Gas Commission, and will be working to meet the conditions of our agreement with Squamish Nation, which includes co-authorising and managing a number of environmental management plans.”

The Woodfibre LNG project is carried out by Woodfibre LNG Limited, a direct subsidiary of Pacific Oil and Gas (PO&G). The site facilitating the project is situated seven kilometres southwest of downtown Squamish, British Columbia.

The facility was previously home to a pulp and paper mill, thereafter, converted to meet the needs of the LNG project. The project, valued at $1.6 billion, is expected to produce 2.1 million tonnes of natural gas per year, and their first batch is set to go out in 2023.

David Keane was appointed as President in August 2018, due to his prior experience in the field. The most recent position held by him was as President and CEO at BC LNG Alliance. Prior to this, he was the Vice President of Policy and Corporate Affairs at BG Group for a period of 10 years.

He was also the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of Dynegy Europe. Keane has shown great interest in playing a role as an environmentally and socially responsible individual.

“The Woodfibre LNG Project is on track to becoming one of the first LNG processing and export terminals in Canada,” said Keane. “I welcome this opportunity to be directly involved in building an LNG facility, and to help create all of the jobs, training and other economic opportunities that come with this project.”

The project has been through a series of hurdles until finally beginning operations. The first task was receiving the necessary approvals. On October 14th, 2015, the Squamish Nation Council approved the project after setting the prerequisite of fulfilling 25 environmental based conditions. The Squamish Council is a group of indigenous people, residing in Coast Salish. Their goal is to preserve their culture, land, and traditions.

Next in line was British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), which then issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate (EAC).

Finally, came the approval from the Federal Government. On March 18th, 2016, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine Mc Kenna issued a statement announcing that according to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the Woodfibre LNG Project isn’t likely to cause major adverse environmental effects.

“Ongoing consultation and relationship-building with the community and local indigenous groups has been a primary focus for the project team since day one. To date, these relationships have led to meaningful changes to the project. Most recently, the local indigenous government, Squamish Nation Chiefs and Council approved an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) between the Nation and Woodfibre LNG.

“The IBA is a condition of a one-of-a-kind environmental agreement between Woodfibre LNG and Squamish Nation, which conducted its own independent environmental review of the project. Another example of positive change, Woodfibre LNG will be powered by clean, renewable hydroelectricity, which will make Woodfibre LNG one of the cleanest LNG facilities in the world,” said Keane during his interview with Gastech Insights.

In 2018, the project required another set of approvals to resume work. On November 23rd 2018, the Squamish Nation approved three agreements the project required, with Woodfibre LNG Limited, FortisBC, and the Province of British Columbia.

On June 26th, 2019, the Woodfibre LNG project signed their first customer—BP Gas Marketing Limited (BP), a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of BP PLC. They signed a Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) stating the following terms: BP will receive 0.75 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG over 15 years on a free on board (FOB) basis, with their first delivery expected in 2023.

“Woodfibre LNG is a tremendous opportunity for British Columbia and Canada to get clean natural gas to growing markets in Asia,” said Keane. “PO&G has made significant investments in Canadian natural gas because they are confident in the future of LNG in Canada.”

The latest development the project is going through is the request to add a floating worker camp. The request to amend the project’s Environmental Assessment Approvals was announced on October 29th, 2019. The floating house will accommodate 400-600 beds, an onboard kitchen, recreational areas, sewage collection and holding tanks, garbage collection, and a loading dock. The floating house will bring forward benefits like reduced highway and marine traffic, and improved safety. The project awaits approval.

“This is a project that has always put the community first,” said Keane. “A floatel will address concerns we’ve heard from the community over the past year about the potential impacts of using land-based camps or rental housing at a time when the Squamish market is already tight.”

About Woodfibre LNG Limited

Woodfibre LNG Limited is a privately held Canadian company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is a direct subsidiary of the Royal Golden Eagles (RGE) group of companies.

About PO&G

PO&G is an independent energy resources development company that caters to the energy needs of the Asian market. The company, holding investments throughout the energy supply chain, is headquartered in Singapore.

About Sukanto Tanoto

Sukanto Tanoto, born in Medan in 1949, is the Founder and Chairman of RGE. He established his company in 1973 with the intention of going global. Today, his company has over 60,000 employees with operations in Indonesia, China, Brazil, Spain and Canada. The companies managed by RGE includes pulp and paper – APRIL and Asia Symbol; palm oil – Asian Agri and Apical; specialty cellulose – Bracell; viscose fibre – Sateri and Asia Pacific Rayon; and integrated energy provider – Pacific Oil & Gas.

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