Pieridae Energy Ltd. PEA-T is considering a revival of its plan to build a terminal in Nova Scotia to export liquefied natural gas to Germany, but cautions that Canadian regulatory hurdles could delay any LNG proposals on the East Coast.
Pieridae cited high costs and other constraints, such as supply-chain problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, when it suspended plans for its Goldboro LNG project last summer.
But since the invasion of Ukraine four months ago, Europe is scrambling to reduce its dependence on natural gas from Russia.
“You can see what’s happening in Europe,” Pieridae chief executive officer Alfred Sorensen said in an interview on Tuesday as he announced a new feasibility study for exporting LNG to Germany. “The world has changed a lot.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met on Monday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the G7 summit in Germany. Canada and Germany have been discussing LNG opportunities, including Pieridae’s export project at Goldboro, N.S., and Repsol SA’s Saint John LNG terminal in New Brunswick.
One option is to export 10 million tonnes a year of LNG to Germany in what would be a revival of Pieridae’s original plan for a land-based terminal, while a scaled-down version calls for exports of 2.5 million tonnes annually from a floating facility.
No matter which option is chosen, Mr. Sorensen said, the chances have improved for starting construction on Goldboro LNG, given Germany’s increased demand for energy to replace Russian supplies. Pieridae has already signed a 20-year deal to supply German utility Uniper with LNG.
“We’re cautiously optimistic. It’s still a long way, so that’s why have to get the feasibility study done and we have to understand what the cost structure is going to be and then we can decide,” he said.
Pieridae hopes to make a final investment decision as early as mid-2023, the CEO said. The goal is to begin exports to Germany by 2028 under the scenario of a full-scale export terminal in Nova Scotia.
Mr. Sorensen said Canada has a time-consuming regulatory process to approve projects that is a challenge for companies to navigate. “What we’ve said to the federal government is that you’ve created this regulatory problem and you have to solve it,” he said.
If Pieridae opts for the full-scale LNG terminal, significant upgrades and expansions would be required by TC Energy Corp.’s pipeline system in Ontario and Quebec to bring natural gas from Alberta, which in turn would join a connecting line that feeds the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline from New England to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Repsol spokesman Michael Blackier said he recognizes the recent interest in Saint John LNG, which is currently operating as an import terminal.
“Repsol is continuously exploring options to maximize the value of the terminal, with a particular focus on new lower-carbon opportunities to help meet market demand and to support the energy transition,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “The company will look at any/all business that enhances or creates value at Saint John LNG, including the potential to add liquefaction capabilities to the existing facility.”
Goldboro LNG and Saint John LNG would need to negotiate to have TC Energy and other pipeline companies transport natural gas from Alberta to the East Coast.
Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in an interview with The Globe and Mail in March that the federal government remains committed to meeting Canada’s net-zero carbon emissions goals by 2050. That means LNG proponents would need to rely on electric-drive technology for liquefaction instead of the traditional natural gas-fired turbines to supercool the commodity into liquid form.
“Canada is committed to exploring options to enhance the energy security of our allies,” Ian Cameron, director of communications for Mr. Wilkinson, added in a statement last month. “However, our expectation is that projects must fit within the context of our existing domestic and international climate commitments.”
A third possibility for the East Coast is LNG Newfoundland and Labrador Ltd., which is studying the feasibility of securing offshore natural gas from the Grand Banks and aiming to start LNG exports to Europe in 2030.
But there could be competition from Western Canada for access to natural gas reserves if LNG Canada in Kitimat, B.C., decides to build a second phase to its export terminal that is currently under construction and if West Coast LNG projects such as Woodfibre, Ksi Lisims, Cedar and Tilbury forge ahead.
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