Thursday, July 10, 2014

Imperial Oil delivers an introduction to Tuck Inlet LNG proposal for City Council

Prince Rupert Council and those viewing Monday's session at home received the first public overview of what Imperial Oil and their partners at Exxon/Mobil have in mind when it comes to developing an LNG terminal site across from Seal Cove along the southern shore of Tuck Inlet.

Mr. Scott Pinhey, the Opportunities Manager with Imperial Oil Ltd. provided the glimpse into what an LNG development would look like, should they move forward with their plans for a parcel of land within Lot 444, the area of land north and east of Prince Rupert, part of which contains the city's watershed.

Mr. Pinhey made use of a multi-media presentation to outline the opportunity that the Imperial Oil group is considering, which if proven feasible would provide a slightly different approach to LNG terminal development than some of the other proposals for the region.

Key to their plans is the Site concept of the Marine based Barge based nature of the Terminal, with up to six Barges to be used on the east side of Tuck Inlet, with a smaller footprint to be used on adjacent land.

The Imperial Plan would start with two Marine Barges growing to a possible six in the future.

The transit map for LNG carriers would take the vessels through Prince Rupert harbour, into Tuck Inlet where they would turn and then return down the inlet to berth at the Terminal location across from Seal Cove.

Mr. Pinhey touched on the environmental sensitivities of the region, observing how Imperial believes that their proposal offers up the least impact on those sensitivities.

He also highlighted some of the consultation that they have conducted with local First Nations.

He stressed the importance of Safety and Environmental aspects of their proposed terminal development, acknowledging the proximity to the city's watershed area.

Explaining that in their opinion they don't expect any impact on that area and that the project would meet any government standards for water management and air emissions and quality.

The financial benefit for Prince Rupert was also outlined for Council, with 1000 construction jobs expected to be required during the construction phase, with 300 long term jobs and additional indirect employment created by the terminal development.

Mr. Pinhey also explained that should their Marine Barge based proposal not prove feasible, Imperial Oil believes that there is sufficient land available along the shoreline to shift towards a land based model if they have to.

He also pointed to the opportunity for Prince Rupert to become the hub to their operations, with their staff and workers locating in the region owing to its proximity to the city, reviewing the direct benefit that the City of Prince Rupert would gain from the proposed development.

As for a timeline, Mr. Pinhey stressed that they were very much in the pre-Project Description phase, with the Near Term Engagement process about to start, that would include a public community information session that they plan to hold in the city on July 24th.

Offering Imperial Oil to provide more information on their proposal and answer questions and receive input from the public.  As part of the timeline they outlined how later in the year they also will be making submissions regarding Environmental Assessment, which would require further open houses and engagement.

They also intend to reach out to individual stakeholders and the First Nations of the region as they move their engagement process forward.

Following their presentation the Mayor offered up some thoughts on their proposal seeking a bit more background on the nature of the facility and the timeline of their initial plans for two Marine based barges, he was advised that they anticipated a start up of operations sometime late in 2023 or early 2024.

He then opened the session up for questions from the three Councillors in attendance on the evening.

Considering their recent thoughts on the theme of Lot 444 development and industrial development in the region, it was unfortunate that Councillors Thorkelson and Ashley were absent on the night, as they no doubt might have had much to ask of the guests regarding the proposal.

With the two councillors along with Councillor Kinney not available on the night, it was left to Councillors Garon and Cunningham to taking advantage of the opportunity to seek out a bit more information on the project.

Councillor Cunningham focused on the transportation aspect of the project, inquiring about required buffer zones surrounding the vessels as they transit the region and how many they anticipate arriving in the region once the terminal starts up.

He was advised that the full six train barge terminal would provide for one vessel per day, he also was advised that there would be a buffer zone required during the loading process.

Councillor Cunningham also called attention to the nature of the marine traffic in both the harbour and up into Tuck inlet and whether Imperial Oil had made contact yet with such groups as UFAWU to discuss any potential impact of their transit plan into their terminal location.

The project proponents haven't yet conducted any discussions with any user groups, though they hope to engage with them either through their open meetings, public houses or through smaller meetings.

Councillor Cunningham wrapped up his line of questions with an inquiry as to any potential impact on air emissions, he was advised that Imperial Oil would have some of their technical staff on hand for their July 24th community session.

Councillor Garon echoed those thoughts as well, expressing some hesitation when it comes to the proposed site and the impact that it may have on air emissions and other mitigation factors, she observed how it would be helpful to learn more about them at the public session.

One question not explored by Council was what impact that the Marine based nature of the proposal might have on anticipated revenue streams to the City, compared to one that is totally constructed on land within the City's boundary.

That perhaps might make for a topic for further discussion not only at the Council table, but at the public session of July 24th.

You can review the full presentation from Imperial Oil through the City's Video Archive, the overview starts at the 58 minute mark and continues through until 1 hour and 28 minutes.

For more background on the Imperial Oil proposal see our Archive page on the topic here.

For more items of interest on City Council discussions see our Council archive page here.

1 comment: