A PLANNED liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Kitimat represents the only real hope of reducing natural gas bills for northwestern residents, says Skeena NDP MLA Robin Austin.
Construction of the plant, owned by industry giants Apache and EOG Resources and EnCana, is expected to be announced this year.
It’s going to require the construction of a companion pipeline to the Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) system, a project called the Pacific Trails Pipeline.
EOG and Apache bought out PNG’s half ownership of the pipeline portion of the project earlier this year and, last week, EnCana bought into the whole project.
EnCana now has a 30 per cent stake, providing it with 30 per cent of the pipeline capacity and 30 per cent of the liquefied plant’s capacity.
Apache has 40 per cent and EOG the remaining 30 per cent.
Although PNG has sold its stake in the pipeline, it has signed a deal to manage the system and receive revenue for gas flowing through it.
“I’m hoping it will more than make up for the losses when Methanex and the other large users pulled,” said Austin of the anticipated revenue stream.
“We’ve been waiting for some time. This is the first industrial user to show up,” he added.
The loss of large industrial users meant passing the delivery costs to PNG’s remaining customers, notably residential ones, and that set the stage for price increase shocks even as the price of the gas itself was declining.
But Austin did note that the LNG plan and pipeline project, if announced this year, would not go on stream until 2015.
The PNG deal with Apache and EOG only kicks in when the LNG plant is working.