Second expansion for Tilbury LNG plant

FortisBC needs more storage after deal to ship liquefied natural gas to Hawaii

The major expansion at FortisBC's Tilbury liquefied natural gas plant won't be finished until later this year, but another big expansion is already planned.

An agreement was announced last Thursday that would see LNG exported from the Delta facility to Hawaii to be used for local power generation.

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A news release from FortisBC noted that under the 20-year deal, 800,000 metric tonnes of LNG would be delivered annually to Hawaiian Electric starting in 2021. The agreement outlines the conditions to be met and the necessary approvals to be received.

"FortisBC is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the strong market demand for clean-burning B.C. natural gas as a bridge fuel in the transition to renewable energy production," said Barry Perry, president and CEO of Fortis Inc.

B.C. Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman said the agreement showcases the province's capacity to supply clean energy to new markets.

FortisBC is already undertaking a $400-million expansion at its Tilbury plant. In operation since 1971, the plant cools natural gas into a liquid state for storage. It's then converted back into gas vapour and delivered by pipeline during periods of high demand. It's also delivered by tanker truck to customers.

The current facility can liquefy 5,000 gigajoules (GJ) of gas per day, and has a storage capacity of 600,000 GJ. The expanded facility will be able to liquefy an additional 34,000 GJ of natural gas per day and will add 1.1 million GJ of additional storage

capacity. A FortisBC spokesperson noted the deal with Hawaii means additional liquefaction equipment and a new 1.1 million GJ storage tank will be needed at the Tilbury site, as well as a new 230 kV power line connecting Tilbury to B.C. Hydro's Arnott substation in East Ladner.

After concerns raised by Delta farmers about the proposed route of a new power line to serve the expansion already underway, a new route has been devised. FortisBC will make that new route public once affected property owners have been consulted.

The additional power line for the second expansion would go along that new route as well.

A separate application by WesPac Midstream Vancouver LLC, a unit of WesPac Midstream LLC, to build an LNG export facility adjacent to the FortisBC Tilbury plant received an export license from the National Energy Board. If it clears the other approvals, WesPac's jetty would enable new customers such as Hawaiian Electric to receive LNG from the FortisBC facility via barges and small LNG carriers.

If all conditions are met and government, regulatory and internal approvals are received, the next expansion of the Tilbury LNG facility would commence in 2018.

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