Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A 12-storey LNG storage tank.

A self-governing aboriginal group on Vancouver Island has signed a deal with a fledgling liquefied natural gas company in hopes of developing a massive project to export LNG to Asia.

Members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations say they are eager to work with project leader Steelhead LNG Corp. to build an export terminal near Bamfield on the southwest side of Vancouver Island.

Huu-ay-aht First Nations chief councillor Jeff Cook said his group is in a strong position to help nurture a major venture in the resource sector. He noted that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last month that the consent of aboriginals is required for how their ancestral lands are used.

Story continues below advertisement

The Huu-ay-aht are part of the 2011 Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, one of only a handful of treaty and land claim pacts in British Columbia.

"We're open for business. For too long, we've been left behind in the resource industry and basically consulted after the fact. We want to be part of this LNG project," Mr. Cook said in an interview.

Steelhead LNG is filing its export licence application Tuesday to the National Energy Board. The Vancouver-based firm is applying to export up to 30 million tonnes of LNG annually for 25 years, making it the largest project by capacity proposed so far in British Columbia.

The goal is to launch with 12 million tonnes of annual LNG capacity by 2022, and then ramp up in later years.

There are 15 B.C. LNG export projects in the works, though industry experts say it is realistic to expect four B.C. LNG projects at most to come to fruition.

Eleven of the projects are focused on terminals to be built in northwestern British Columbia. There are now two terminals proposed for Vancouver Island – the other is the Discovery LNG project slated for Campbell River. The Woodfibre LNG project is planned near Squamish, north of Vancouver, and there is also WesPac Midstream LLC's proposal for Tilbury Island, south of Vancouver.

Nearly 650 members of the Huu-ay-aht have moved away, leaving about 100 natives remaining in the community of Anacla, near Bamfield. Other Huu-ay-aht citizens now live in various parts of British Columbia and Washington state because there have been brighter economic prospects elsewhere over the years.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Cook said the Huu-ay-aht still living in Anacla rely mostly on tourism and fishing for their livelihoods, and there needs to be a large industrial employer to lure residents. While the proposal is in the preliminary phase in exploring economic benefits, "our long-term plan is to try to get more of our people to move back home and an LNG terminal would be a good start," he said.

Geoff Plant, who served as B.C. attorney-general from 2001 to 2005, is a board member at Steelhead LNG.

With the vast majority of British Columbia not under treaties, the presence of the Huu-ay-aht's self-government represents an important strategic advantage in the quest to build an export terminal on native land next to Sarita Bay, said Steelhead LNG chief executive officer Nigel Kuzemko.

"It's great for the project to work with the the Huu-ay-aht," he said. "We certainly see some clarity because of the signed treaty and the ability to be on treaty lands. We're tremendously excited to do this working partnership at such an early stage of the project."

New pipelines would need to be built for transporting natural gas across the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island. Mr. Kuzemko acknowledged that there are enormous challenges ahead, ranging from securing LNG buyers in Asia to clearing environmental assessment hurdles to lining up financing for a project that could cost $30-billion based on production of 24 million tonnes a year, excluding pipeline expenses.

Huu-ay-aht leaders are also collaborating with the Port Alberni Port Authority on potential marine developments related to shipping LNG.

Story continues below advertisement

So far, the National Energy Board has approved 11 LNG export applications. Nine of those projects are proposed for British Columbia while two have Oregon terminals envisaged.

While major energy companies are leading the B.C. LNG race, the nascent industry is also attracting its share of entrepreneurs, including Krishnan Suthanthiran, president of Kitsault Energy Ltd. Mr. Suthanthiran said last month at a Canadian Business Conferences' event that he is keen to turn the former mining community of Kitsault into a thriving LNG site in northwestern British Columbia.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies