Thursday, April 27, 2023

Vopak and AltaGas exploring joint venture project for Ridley Island

Alberta based AltaGas and the Dutch Global bulk fuels giant Vopak are coming a new joint venture to explore the potential for a Large Scale LPG and Bulk Liquids export Terminal on Ridley Island.

In an information release on Wednesday, the background to what would be a 50/50 joint venture was outlined.

The new initiative to be known as REEF (Ridley island Energy Export Facility) builds on the previous work of VOPAK  as part of their previously submitted regulatory findings for a Prince Rupert facility.

REEF has been granted the key Federal and Provincial permits to construct storage tanks, a new dedicated jetty, and rail and other ancillary infrastructure required to operate a state-of-the-art and highly efficient facility. 

REEF would be developed on a 190-acre (77 hectare) site on lands administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority for which the joint venture has executed a long-term lease that sits adjacent to AltaGas and Vopak's existing Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal (RIPET), which has been in operation since April 2019.

The facility would have the capability towards the export of LPG's, methanol and other bulk fuels.

Wednesday's information release notes that should REEF reach a positive final investment decision, it is planned to be developed and brought online in phases. 

This approach will provide the most capital efficient build out of the project, match energy export supply with throughput capacity, mitigate the challenges that large development projects can have on local communities, and provide local construction and employment opportunities that would extend over longer time horizons. 

AltaGas has executed a long-term commercial agreement with the joint venture for 100% of the capacity for the first phase of LPG volumes, subject to a positive FID. AltaGas will also be responsible for the construction and operational stewardship of the facility. 

Future phases of the project will be developed as additional long-term commercial agreements and critical milestones are achieved to deliver the maximum value for all stakeholders.

Building on their already existing relationship the two partners note of the benefits for shippers that will come from the new facility, with a significant reduction in transit time to global markets.

With only ten shipping days to the fastest growing demand markets in Northeast Asia, REEF will be able to efficiently connect Canada's vital energy products to the world. This includes having an approximate 60 percent base time savings over the U.S. Gulf Coast, which requires a minimum 25-day shipping time to Northeast Asia, and approximately 45 percent base case time savings over the Arabian Gulf, which requires a minimum 18-day shipping time. 

This geographic advantage expands when there is significant congestion in the Panama Canal or when other global shipping pinch points experience disruptions. Furthermore, the Port of Prince Rupert provides REEF year-round ice-free operations and has the deepest natural harbour in North America, leaving it able to accommodate the world's largest vessels, which ensures safe and reliable market access and allows AltaGas and Vopak to efficiently connect upstream and downstream markets.

Much of the work is already in the books when it comes to consultation and regulatory themes, the partners noting of their work with the Prince Rupert Port Authority and First Nations.

Vopak, AltaGas, and the Prince Rupert Port Authority have been working closely with First Nations rights holders and key stakeholders, including the local communities in Northwestern British Columbia and the Federal and Provincial regulators, to deliver a project that will operate with industry-leading environmental stewardship and bring the strongest benefits to all parties involved. Key determinations and permits have been received from the Federal Government and an Environmental Assessment Certificate has been received from the British Columbia Provincial Government.

Both Port officials and those from the Metlakatla First Nation noted of their enthusiasm for the proposed development

"We congratulate Royal Vopak and AltaGas on this significant milestone towards advancing development of the terminal project at the Port of Prince Rupert. Once operational, the new facility will substantially increase and diversify the Port of Prince Rupert's liquid bulk cargo capabilities and capacity, while providing a much-needed export solution for Canadian producers during a critical time in the global energy transition." -- Shaun Stevenson, President and CEO, Prince Rupert Port Authority. 

Metlakatla First Nation Chief Harold Leighton noted of his excitement for the project as well.

 "We commend Vopak and AltaGas on their efforts to-date on building long-term relationships with our community. We are excited with the potential this joint venture project provides to our area and the Metlakatla First Nation."

Further background on the planned partnership can be explored here.

Some past notes for VOPAK and Alta-Gas can be reviewed from our archives below:

More notes on the Prince Rupert Port Authority can be reviewed here

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