Planned LNG plant in northwestern B.C. shelved by Shell

But company says it remains committed to another project at Kitimat

  • Mar. 10, 2017 2:00 p.m.
ONE PLANNED LNG plant for Prince Rupert

ONE PLANNED LNG plant for Prince Rupert

Scratch one natural gas pipeline and one proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants from the list of potential northwestern megaprojects.

Shell Canada announced today the end of any further development of the Prince Rupert LNG project on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert.

The news was not totally unexpected, going back to the purchase of the project’s owner, the BG Group, by Shell last year.

Shell is also the lead company in the proposed LNG Canada plant at Kitimat and industry observers were skeptical of the company moving ahead with two LNG plants in the region.

“Separate from Prince Rupert LNG, Shell remains a joint venture participant in the LNG Canada project,” said Shell in a release today.

“This project continues to be actively progressed by Shell and the joint venture participants as an opportunity to bring Canadian gas resources to the growing global gas markets.”

The end of the Prince Rupert LNG project also means an end to the pipeline that would have supplied its natural gas.

The Westcoast Connector would have run from northeastern B.C. to the northwest, passing through the Nass Valley before turning south and submerging before surfacing at the planned Prince Rupert LNG location.

Like the change of ownership of Prince Rupert LNG which happened when Shell bought the BG Group, there was also a change in the Westcoast Connector ownership when Enbridge last year bought Spectra Energy.

There may be some good news in the Shell announcement for it could free the way for a shift in another planned LNG project.

Petronas-backed Pacific NorthWest LNG has been under heavy criticism for its plans to build a docking facility over an area containing eelgrass, used by salmon as habitat, just off of Lelu Island near Port Edward.

But there are now reports Pacific NorthWest LNG is in discussions to pivot to Ridley Island on the other side of Lelu by striking a deal with Prince Rupert LNG to share docking facilities.

With Prince Rupert LNG now pulling out, those discussions might be smoother.