Vopak is proposing to build another propane project on Ridley Island, Prince Rupert. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Proposed Kitimat propane terminal to cost more than $400 million

And employ up to 90 people

A planned propane export terminal in Kitimat could employ up to 90 people provided its investors make a final investment decision.

The Pacific Traverse Energy project would ship propane by rail from northeasern B.C. to a yard just north of Kitimat where it would be transferred to a pipeline and pumped to an offshore facility.

The facility will be located south along the Bish Creek Road, where the propane will be supercooled and stored before it’s pumped onto tankers for export to Asian customers.

Speaking during a visit to the region, company vice president Jonathan Turner said the Vancouver-based company is working toward making a final investment decision in 2020, starting a two-year construction window leading to first shipments in late 2022 or early 2023.

“We have the financing we need,” said Turner of the project estimated at approximately $400 million. “We’re not looking for investors.”

So far the company is projecting a construction workforce of between 150-200 people and, if the timing works out, a number of those workers would be finishing up with the LNG Canada project, he said.

Hiring priorities would focus on Haisla Nation members and people from the area.

As many as 60 railcars of propane would be off-loaded daily leading toward a planned annual export capacity of 1.2 million tonnes of propane.

That’s about the same size as a propane export terminal owned by AltaGas and Vopak now nearing completion at Ridley Island outside of Prince Rupert.

Pacific Traverse already has a 25-year export licence from the National Energy Board based on North America having a propane surplus.

It has two possible locations for its railyard north of Kitimat — one on provincial Crown land and the other on Rio Tinto-owned land and is now undertaking work to determine which one is best.

Turner emphasized his company’s relationship with the Haisla Nation as key to the project.

“They were the first we contacted,” he said, adding that the two have signed various agreements over the past several years as the project has developed.

The terminal would be built on Haisla-owned land within the District of Kitimat boundaries under one of those signed agreements. Both the district and the province would benefit from tax revenues.

There are no plans for the Haisla to undertake an equity position in the project, Turner said.

“The Haisla have not asked,” he added.

Turner said the propane to be exported would either be owned by Pacific Traverse or by other companies paying the company a transport charge.

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