Dan Woznow

Dan Woznow

Kitimat mayor hopes Douglas Channel LNG will limit on-site living for operations workforce

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth wants commitments from AltaGas to have operations workforce live in-town, rather than on-site.

AltaGas, the company leading a consortium under the banner of Douglas Channel LNG, is looking towards having a final investment decision for their Kitimat project later this year.

It’s a small-scale project, especially compared to, say, Shell-led LNG Canada, but depending on how everything lines up in their schedule they may have one notable benefit: they’ll be first.

Even so, there’s still questions to be answered even in a small-scale project.

For Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, a big question for this project is worker accommodation during operations, who is concerned that there is living spaces on the DCLNG’s floating facility for employees.

“The true measure of a real, healthy community is not how many jobs you have it’s how many families you have, and of course being this close to the community there’s really no reason for a fly-in/fly-out workforce, because [those] workforces don’t sustain communities,” he said.

That’s the only primary concern the town has about the project, which will store liquefied natural gas on a floating vessel, and will ship out on tankers approximately eight times a year.

In fact the project goes further and may reduce natural gas rates for residential customers. Until this project gets online, which uses the PNG pipe system, there is a lot of unused capacity in PNG’s line, which rates payers are picking up the slack on. If capacity is taken up with this project rates for delivery will go down, it’s expected.

AltaGas’ Vice President of Energy Exports Dan Woznow (shown above) says the project is pegged at about $600 million, and construction-wise will employ between 80 to 125 people in the area. That is, in addition to the people who will construct the project’s floating facility overseas.

“It’s going to be constructed overseas but there is on the ground construction for roads, berthing and mooring structures.”

During the operations phase of the project Woznow said there will be between 50 and 70 people.

On the concerns of Kitimat council he said they will look closely at onboard accomodations but said there will likely be some limited spaces onboard for persons working on things like maintenance.

The workers they’ll need on the ground to construct the facility will run from general labour to skilled, such as welders for the steel berthing structures and for the person to build an extra eight kilometres of pipe from the PNG line to reach the facility.

While it may seem strange that such a small-scale project would find a place in a field filled with mega-projects, Woznow says that the project makes sense for the others in consortium specifically for its small size.

He said it can build and diversify companies’ portfolios but its small size reduces the risk to those business portfolios.

The partners in the consortium are AltaGas, Idemitsu Kosan, EDFT Trading, and EXMAR.

In production Douglas Channel LNG would produce 7.5 million metric tonnes a year of product.