Exxon progressing on LNG site near Prince Rupert

Work is wrapping up on the maintenance of McMahon Gas Plant in Taylor.

Exxon Mobil has added a little more certainty to its LNG export proposal with news that it has selected on-shore terminal site plans near Prince Rupert.

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the Texas based oil giant and its Imperial Oil Canadian affiliate hope to finish engineering studies in 2017 for their joint venture.

Still the Globe report says industry analysts believe only three or four of British Columbia’s now 19 LNG proposals have a realistic construction chance — given fierce Asian market competition and a looming global supply glut.

The Petronas Pacific Northwest project still leads the BC LNG race, but just last week the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency again halted the regulatory review of that proposal, claiming it needs more details about the terminal’s possible Flora Bank environmental impact.

However, industry observers say the lengthy process could finally wrap up by October and still meet the 365-day timeline.

Locally, Art Jarvis, Executive Director of Energy Services BC, says it’s still too early to tell if the fall will mark the beginning of a pick-up in patch activity.

“Oil and gas executives are making some decisions and, of course, they’re hoping Petronas does a final investment decision sometime this month,” Jarvis said.

“They’re not real hopeful it will be a final final investment decision, but it’ll probably be a news release saying that they’re continuing a little further anyway.”

As for current local activity, Mr. Jarvis notes the road bans have come off, leading to a slight pick-up in business for the city, but it’s primarily driven by facility maintenance.

“That Taylor plant is doing a major turnaround where they shut down and maintain the equipment that can’t be maintained while it’s running,” he said, estimating there are up to 300 out of town workers in the city working on that job.

“A lot of other facilities around the area are taking advantage of the shutdown and maintaining things too.

“That’s bringing in a spurt that will last another couple weeks,” he said.