Chairman of the Royal Golden Eagle Group, Sukanto Tanoto built his empire on a foundation of social responsibility, ensuring that all Group activities are carried out in a sustainable manner. Tanoto ensures that each of his business undertakings are carried out in an environmentally responsible manner.
One such initiative that places high priority on sustainability is the impending Woodfibre LNG Project. Set to be Canada’s second largest LNG project, the initiative comes under the stewardship of Pacific Oil and Gas subsidiary, Woodfibre LNG Limited.
The project will take place at a setting formerly used as a pulp mill, which is about seven kilometres southwest of Squamish, British Columbia. The facilities will be used to process and liquefy natural gas (LNG), thereafter exporting it to the Asian markets. An amount of about 2 million tonnes of LNG a year is expected, and the first batch is set to be delivered in 2023. As the project is supported by Sukanto Tanoto, it is valued at around $1.6 billion.
Protecting the environment
As the facilities are situated in Squamish, approval from the Squamish Nation Council is essential for the commencement of the project. The Squamish Nation Council is a group of individuals descended from the Coast Salish Aboriginal people and govern a total area of about 6,921 sq.km.
Woodfibre LNG Limited, aware of this, went on to get all the required approvals. On 14th October 2015, the Squamish Nation Council stated 25 environmental based conditions that were fulfilled before approving the Woodfibre LNG project.
The conditions required to be met included: mitigating and monitoring the impacts faced by marine life during construction, maintaining marine water quality to protect marine life and human health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air emissions through the use of power produced by BC Hydro instead of natural gas, and to keep engaging with Aboriginal groups in order to develop improved management and monitoring plans, and thereafter implement it.
Thereafter, on 26th October 2015, Woodfibre LNG was issued an environmental assessment certificate (EAC) so that they may begin operations, followed by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Upon approval, an environmental assessment Decision Statement was issued on 18th March 2016.
Squamish Nation Council approves agreements important for the Woodfibre LNG project
A recent advancement in the Woodfibre LNG project is the approval they received for three beneficial agreements. The approval was to be given by the Squamish National Council. The agreement was with Woodfibre LNG Limited, FortisBC, and the Province of British Columbia. Upon being granted this, the Woodfibre LNG project was to proceed. The project was approved on the 23rd November 2018.
Woodfibre LNG Limited applies for amendment
- On 3rd April 2019, Woodfibre LNG applied for an amendment, in line with specifications stipulated in Section 19(1) of the Environmental Assessment Act (the Act).
- On 9th May 2019, the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) accepted the amendment application, taking into account Section 19 of the Act.
- The amendment application requested the following: changing the definition of ‘construction’ in the Schedule B Table of Conditions, and to remove the onsite landfill from the list of supporting permanent infrastructure in the Schedule A Certified Project Description.
- A three-week review period from 16th May to 7th June 2019 was taken to discuss the amendment application. The EAO gathered advisory working group (WG) members from the original environmental assessment to review the amendment.
- The WG consists of approximately 37 representatives of federal, provincial, local governments, and Indigenous Nations. The comments received for the amendment application was from the following WG representatives: Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Resource Development (FLNRORD), Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (ENV), Environment and Climate Change Canada (E Health Canada), and Tsleil-Waututh Nation.
- The comments provided by the WG were discussed by Woodfibre LNG, thereafter giving the EAO written responses on 14th July 2019.
- The EAO distributed these responses among the members of the WG, assuring all concerns were resolved. The WG participants took a seven-day review period, thereafter the amendment assessment was completed, revising the EA.
- Woodfibre LNG is now successfully operating, fulfilling all environmental conditions, while remaining focused on implementing improved environmentally friendly methods throughout.
The Woodfibre LNG projects scores its first customer
Pacific Oil and Gas, a part of Tanoto’s RGE Group, announced that their subsidiary Woodfibre LNG Limited secured their first customer for the Woodfibre LNG project. The Woodfibre LNG project’s first customer, or as they call it, their ‘foundation customer’, is BP Gas Marketing Limited (BP). BP is an indirect subsidiary of BP PLC.
They have signed a legally binding sales and purchase agreement (SPA) with Woodfibre LNG Limited to deliver their first batch of LNG to them. The terms under the SPA states that BP will receive 0.75 million tonnes per annum of LNG over 15 years on a free on board basis. This delivery is to be fulfilled in 2023.
The project receives facilities permit
On 3rd July 2019, Canada’s BC Oil and Gas Commission (BC OGC) issued permits required by the Woodfibre LNG project to continue building. Woodfibre LNG Limited’s new President David Keane made the following statements:
“Following a rigorous process, Woodfibre LNG is pleased to have received our Facility Permit issued from the BC OGC, one of the key permits required for construction and operation of the project.
“As we move towards construction, we will strive to exceed the high standards of public and environmental safety that are expected of us by the Canadian, B.C., and Squamish Nation governments, and the Squamish community.”
“We are dedicated to bringing benefits to British Columbia through jobs and economic development, and ultimately a project that will have significant positive impact on global climate and human health.”
Pacific Oil and Gas has provided their subsidiary, Woodfibre Limited, with all the required support to ensure that the Woodfibre LNG project is successful and will continue to do, so they may fulfill all their agreements.