Douglas Channel LNG Project could finish before Petronas LNG Project

Canada’s newest institutional financial advisory firm has come forward this week with a bullish report on the prospects of Northern BC LNG development.

AltaCorp Capital, predicts that AltaGas Limited, Shell Canada Limited, Petronas and Exxon Mobil Corporation will build massive facilities, and all that’s in doubt is the order of construction.

In a Financial Post story, analyst Dana Benner, one of four report authors, is cited as suggesting the collapse in crude oil prices has weakened demand for Western Canadian labor, freeing up more people, and resulting in a perfect talent pool environment for a couple of these projects to go forward.

The AltaCorp Capital analysts also say, “While this may appear to be hopelessly optimistic, we would argue that the smaller Douglas Channel LNG project… is on track for a positive final investment decision by the end of 2015.”

Executives at AltaGas, which is leading the $500 million Douglas Channel proposal, have recently said the company’s facility would be completed by 2018.

That timeline would mean the Douglas Channel project would be the first one built in the province – leapfrogging the larger $36 billion Petronas’ Pacific Northwest LNG project.

The AltaCorp Report, expects Pacific Northwest will now be the third project on the start-up list also trailing Shell’s LNG Canada project, with cost estimates ranging from $25 to 40 billion.

While neither Shell nor AltaGas has commented on construction timeline requests, the report cites a ‘preponderance of evidence’ suggesting Shell will decide in the first half of next year to build its project.

It also says, Petronas, Malaysia’s state-owned oil producer, may need to re-position a bridge and other parts of its project near Prince Rupert to gain aboriginal support before proceeding with the Pacific Northwest project.

As for Exxon Mobil’s West Coast Canada LNG project, the report adds, “The Company plans to finish engineering studies in 2017, with FID now anticipated, for late that year, or in 2018.”