Imperial Oil with ExxonMobil join LNG race in northwest

A potential new LNG facility may be on the horizon as Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil file for an export licence.

Imperial Oil Canada and ExxonMobil Canada have filed with the National Energy Board an application for an export permit for a potential new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility.

The jointly-owned entity, named WCC LNG — which stands for West Coast Canada — is for a possible terminal either in Kitimat or Prince Rupert.

“Basically what that is, is an application for permission to potentially export up to 30 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas for a period of 25 years,” said Imperial Oil spokesperson Pius Rolheiser.

But he emphasized that filing for this permit does not mean the companies are set to go ahead with any construction or even a decision on actually moving forward to build anything.

“It will help us in our continuing engagement with First Nations, regulators, potential customers, potential pipeline companies,” he said. “We’re probably years away from a final investment decision.”

He said so far the company is looking at sites both in Prince Rupert and Kitimat.

Investigative permits were received for both communities last year.

Rolheiser also said that the site in Prince Rupert being explored is called Grassy Point.

The B.C. government asked for expressions of interest on the Grassy Point land earlier this year and Imperial Oil responded to that.

Also from that call for expressions of interest, Australian energy giant Nexen was joined by the largest producer of oil and gas in China and a Japanese petroleum company, in a proposal. Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company, Woodside Petroleum Ltd., expressed their interest, as did SK E&S, a Korean-based gas and electricity company. He didn’t say which land was being pursued in Kitimat.

The application for 30 million tonnes of LNG export a year compares to the other largest LNG proposal for the Kitimat area, LNG Canada, which is the Shell Canada-led project. They already have an export application in place, theirs for 24 million tonnes a year.