It is said that all things come to those that wait – and in the case of Kitimat it looks like the waiting is finally coming to an end.
First there is the KM LNG plant, involving natural gas majors Apache, EOG Resources and Encana, which is expected to be confirmed either late this year or early in 2012 at the latest.
That proposal is to export 5 million tonnes a year initially, doubling when the second phase is completed.
Then there is the Haisla-LNG Partners joint venture, seemingly well positioned to service the needs of the mid-caps – of which there are more than a few, all with significant quantities of natural gas to sell.
And now Shell has confirmed it is also looking at building an LNG plant on our coast.
The entry of Shell is especially significant given its near 40-year experience in the LNG business and its involvement in that industry in Australia, Malaysia, Brunei, Nigeria, Oman and Russia, to name a few.
When the granddaddy of them all gets in the game, you know this is serious stuff.
Granted some reports say the company is looking at Prince Rupert, but I have my doubts on that destination given the record of rock slide-caused PNG line breaks that have cut off gas supplies to that city twice in the past four years.
I would also have thought it made more sense to locate your LNG plant in proximity to others since you can piggy back on the service industries that will already be in place to meet the needs of those other plants.
Synergies and all that.
It also seems a gimme that if Shell is to build an LNG plant here, it will also have to build its own pipeline since the capacity of the Apache/EOG/Encana Pacific Trail Pipeline is already spoken for by those companies.
As for the volumes Shell is looking at, gas patch chatter says it could be sending out 8.5 million to 14 million tonnes per year.
Okay, one can understand the rush to export given the prices that can be obtained are much higher than domestically. But is there enough gas to satisfy this stampede?
The latest forecast from the BC Energy and Mines ministry estimates the potential of the shale gas play at between 61 trillion cubic feet and 97 tcf.
That should do it.
More next week.