Thursday, September 14, 2017

Another LNG project is dropped on the North Coast, as Aurora LNG bows out

The summer of 2017 is going down in history as the summer when the regions LNG aspirations took some serious hits,  the latest coming from Aurora LNG, the project led by the Chinese energy giant CNOOC which has announced that they too are no longer considering their proposed terminal development at Digby Island as part of their LNG plans.

In an announcement posted to the Aurora LNG website, the company reviews the results of a feasibility study into the proposed LNG terminal at Digby Island and from that study has determined that they will cease all investigation activity into the project immediately.

The move to cancel the project comes as the company was heading towards the home stretch of its environmental assessment process with the British Columbia government's Environmental Assessment Office.

The statement notes that "Through this feasibility study, Aurora LNG has determined that the current macro-economic environment does not currently support the partners’ vision of developing a large LNG business at the proposed Digby Island site."

Aurora LNG also noted they reached their decision with some disappointment and reflected on their work in the region since introducing the proposed project.

"While disappointed in this outcome, Aurora LNG is proud of its work in northwest British Columbia over the past three years and the relationships it has built with local community members, Indigenous groups, stakeholders and government. The partners’ are committed to a responsible and orderly conclusion of their activities in the Prince Rupert region."

CNOOC and their partners note that they will continue to develop their upstream natural gas assets in north eastern British Columbia and will continue to monitor the North American market for future opportunities.

The decision brings to an end four years of study into the conditions required to deliver any forward movement for the project.

That investigation period at times has provided for much controversy in the region, particularly for those living in the Dodge cove area of Digby Island.

The maps and designs for the proposed Aurora LNG
terminal at Digby Island are now destined for that
growing archive of Prince Rupert projects never to be

You can review some of the history of the once-proposed development from our Aurora LNG archive page.

The final decision related to the Aurora prospects marks the third significant setback to the development of an LNG industry on the North Coast so far.

Earlier this summer the Malaysian energy giant Petronas announced their plans to cancel the Pacific Northwest LNG project at Lelu Island.

Last year, Shell Canada indicated that the BG Gas terminal project proposed for Ridley island was set for cancellation, with Shell taking Prince Rupert off their future development list this March.

The announcement from CNOOC regarding their Aurora project, leaves but one major LNG project still tentatively on the drawing board, that being the WCC LNG project for Tuck Inlet to the east of Prince Rupert.

That project however has seen little in the way of progress over the course of the last few years.

The Aurora cancellation may add to the growing list of concerns on the LNG files raised by the Liberal opposition at the Legislature.

Earlier this week, former LNG Minister and now interim Liberal leader Rich Coleman offered up a political indictment of the NDP government's approach to LNG and how he believes some of their comments over the last year have provided for an investment chill in the province.

The news from Prince Rupert will no doubt give Mr. Coleman more opportunity to expand on those themes.

You can review what's left of the once very active LNG files from our archive page here.


  1. It's time for the City to re:think having a full-time Mayor, pay top ups, and extra staffing to prepare for non-existent hyper-economic growth.

    1. I couldn't agree more.

      Also, council should rethink their approach considering the demands they placed on Nexen in the letter to the BC EAO.