In August 2014 Fortis and Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) announced a preliminary agreement to purchase LNG from BC for export to Hawaii, subject to regulatory approvals. HECO then began a search for companies to deliver the LNG from BC to Hawaii.
In December 2014 the BC government partially exempted Fortis LNG export plans from oversight by the BC Utilities Commission.
In April 2015 Wespac Midstream was selected as the preferred bidder by HECO (1) for the delivery of LNG to that state. HECO indicates that Wespac and Fortis have been working for three years to market LNG to Hawaii and Alaska and noted the working relationship between the two companies in their decision.
In May 2015 Wespac received approval from the National Energy Board for the export of 4.76 billion cubic metres of natural gas each year.
Also in May 2015, Wespac Midstream submitted a Project Summary Description for its proposed Tilbury Island LNG terminal to both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the BC Environmental Assessment Office. The Wespac project summary description states that the terminal would generate up to 90 LNG tanker trips AND 34 LNG barge trips each year. Ottawa subsequently agreed to a request that BC run the assessment process.
Wespac intends to ship LNG from the Fortis LNG facility located directly upstream from the project site. Fortis recently received approval to expand its Tilbury Island natural gas liquefaction facility, but even after expansion the Fortis facility would not be able to supply the volume of LNG that Wespac proposes to export. As Wespac explained in its application to the NEB for an LNG export licence, further expansion at the Fortis facility will be required to supply the Wespac Terminal. That will mean new power lines running through Delta farmland, and possibly even an expanded natural gas pipeline from northeast BC. The impacts from the Fortis expansion should be included in the LNG terminal environmental assessment.
In November 2015 Wespac submitted a proposal for the scope of its environmental assessment of the LNG terminal to the BC Environmental Assessment Office. Public comments sent in response can be seen here.
In June 2016 Fortis and HECO re-announced their agreement for the export of LNG to Hawaii with updated details.
Wespac is a privately held US company that “constructs, owns and operates energy infrastructure.” Wespac does not currently own or operate any facilities in British Columbia. Wespac has never built or operated an LNG terminal.
The beige tower in the centre of the backdrop photo is the existing Fortis LNG storage tank. The cranes in the photo surround the company’s new storage capacity, under construction. The proposed Wespac LNG terminal itself would be located where existing log pilings are visible in the lower right foreground of the photo. Burns Bog can be seen in the distance.
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(1) Large document! Loads slowly. Details at pages 47-48. Alternatively, HECO docket filing with Hawaiian Public Utilities Commission can be found here http://dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms/index.jsp (Docket 2016-0135, document dated 5/18/2016, 617 pages)