With Shell Canada and Apache Canada both planning to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals aimed at serving the Chinese market, the small northern British Columbia community of Kitimat is relishing the challenge ahead.
“Kitimat is experiencing unprecedented interest from world-class industrial developers,” says Rose Klukas, the town’s economic development officer. “With that comes a challenge to ensure that impacts on the community are managed.”
Kitimat recognized this and formed impact management groups comprised of community stakeholders, she says. Another challenge will be attracting the large number of workers required for the mega-projects.
“Clearly, the construction of these major industrial projects means jobs for people in this area and further,” Ms. Klukas notes. “It also means secondary industry is looking at Kitimat as a viable place to do business.”
Apache Canada is conducting site preparation work, has an export licence to ship five million tonnes of LNG a year and is working toward a final investment decision on the combined export terminal and pipeline project
Shell Canada has also purchased land at Kitimat and has arranged with TransCanada to build a pipeline across B.C. to deliver gas to the proposed plant.
B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman says that LNG is a competitive, expanding global industry, and demand worldwide will bring increased growth in the province.
Ms. Klukas stresses that Kitimat can support industry that adds value to Canada’s natural resources.
“Of course, as the world looks at Kitimat on the map, it realizes the attributes we have that make us a perfect place for development: a deep, ice-free harbour and close proximity to overseas markets demanding Canada’s commodities,” she says. “The Kitimat Valley is a wide and flat valley with room to grow.”
She says that the development of the terminals also means that children of families already in the area or attracted to work in the facilities can look forward to an increasing number of jobs that will be available locally, especially in the trades.
“There is a future for people wanting to live in the North,” she says. “We will see these terminals come to fruition, because British Columbia has large reserves of natural gas, there are overseas markets demanding this commodity, and Kitimat is strategically located to serve them.”