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Exporting Liquid Natural Gas from Nova Scotia

An examination of the Goldboro LNG project

by Eric Antolick

The Goldboro LNG plant is at a strategic point to access foreign markets (image: goldborolng.com/)
The Goldboro LNG plant is at a strategic point to access foreign markets (image: goldborolng.com/)

As the supply of natural gas in North America increases and demand stays steady, energy producers are looking at markets overseas to increase their profit. To do so, infrastructure needs to be built to accommodate the exportation of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG).

As a coastal province, Nova Scotia draws the attention of energy producers and infrastructure companies as a good location from which to export LNG.

The Goldboro LNG project, proposed by Pieridae Energy Limited, to be built in Guysborough County NS, is nearing its final stages of review. According to Nova Scotia Environment Website, an Environmental Assessment Review Panel will consider questions and comments raised by public, government agencies, First Nations, and panel members by January 10, 2014 with a second public consultation period to follow during the month.

If the review panel approves the plans, constructions is expected to start in 2015, and production in 2020.

Founded in 2011, Pieridae is an energy infrastructure company focused on LNG opportunities. The CEO of the company, Alfred Sorensen, is well positioned in the LNG industry in Canada and abroad. He is also the CEO of Galveston LNG Inc and Canadian Spirit Resources Inc. Before coming to the east coast, he was involved in the development and sale of the Kitimat LNG project in B.C. The Kitimat LNG plant was first designed to import natural gas, but became an export plant instead.

What is the purpose of Goldboro Liquid Natural Gas plant?

The Goldboro LNG plant is designed to export natural gas to foreign markets and will export an estimated 10 million tonnes/year.

According to Pieridae's website, in order to make exporting Natural Gas economically viable, it needs to be liquefied. The liquefaction process involves removal of impurities such as carbon dioxide, mercury, hydrogen sulfide and water. The natural gas is then condensed into a liquid at close to atmospheric pressure, by cooling it to approximately -161 degrees Centigrade. LNG occupies about 1/600th the volume of natural gas.

According to the Project Description found at the government of Nova Scotia's website, there will be two or three storage tanks built at the plant, each with a capacity of 210,000 m3. The marine terminal will be designed to accommodate LNG carrier ships ranging in capacity from 125,000 m3 to 266,000 m3.

The exact measures for disposing of liquefaction byproducts remain unclear. The project description only mentions hazardous waste disposal, but gives no specifics as to where this will take place.

“Hazardous waste streams will be separated according to type (waste oils, paints, acid batteries, contaminated filters etc.) on site and stored within suitable containment prior to transport off-site for disposal at an approved facility. Magnitude proportional to scale of steady state operations and maintenance activities. Occasional truck movements of condensate will require disposal/ re-use off-site.”

It does not say which off site facility will be used; Nova Scotia has already had a mismanagement problem with hydraulic fracturing waste water. Between 2010 and 2011, 7.3 million litres of fracking wastes were discharged by Atlantic Industrial Services (AIS) into the Windsor sewage treatment plant. You can read more about the issues around fracking waste disposal here.

The project description indicates there will be three flare stacks, an incinerator, and a waste water treatment facility on site. The on site water treatment plant will dump the waste water into the ocean after treatment.

Where will the raw gas come from?
The company is contemplating three areas to source its plant: the Marcelus Shale formation in North Eastern U.S., New Brunswick, and offshore Nova Scotia.

The Marcelus shale formation located in North Eastern U.S.; an area where gas is accessed through a controversial method known as hydraulic fracturing, is also an area where many citizens have been claiming, ground water, air and other environmental problems due to the extraction.

Pieridae notes that New Brunswick is another source for gas. In their application to the National Energy Board, Pieridae stated at least one third of it's fuel supply would come from shale gas projects in New Brunswick – where SWN Resources Canada has met escalating opposition from First Nations and New Brunswick communities to their exploration activities since the summer of 2013.

Pieridae has partnered with Calgary-based Contact Exploration Inc. to tap New Brunswick’s prospective Frederick Brook shale. Pieridae now has a 50 per cent interest in gas assets Contact holds in the Moncton sub-basin in N.B.

Corridor Resources, an eastern Canadian junior resources company, which is based out of Halifax N.S., has also expressed interest in supplying the LNG plant. They have already drilled multiple wells in the McCully Field, located near Sussex N.B. where residents have noted land subsidence they connect to these gas and potash mining operations. Corridor also has exploration rights in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The gas is expected to be received at the Goldboro plant, via the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which is owned by Spectra Energy (77.53%), Emera Inc. (12.92%), and Exxon Mobil (9.55%). Exxon was responsible for a devastating pipeline oil leak, in Mayflower, Arkansas in March, 2013.

A short pipeline will be required to tie into the existing M&NP pipeline. This will be built by M&NP and is not included in the project's proposal.

In order to acquire natural gas from the U.S. there are plans to reverse the flow and increase overall capacity of the 1,101-kilometre pipeline, which runs from Goldboro to Dracut, Mass.

Consultation Process
According to the Executive Summary, Pieridae has already held four information sessions for the local community, with each session having an attendance ranging from 100 – 150 people. They state that public response was very supportive at these sessions, and for the most part participants appeared to see the project as an excellent opportunity for economic development in the area.

As for First Nation's Consultation, according to the Consultation and Engagement Program document found on the government of Nova Scotia's website:

“Pieridae has concluded a MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) with the Assembly of NS Chiefs through the KMK (Kwilmu'kw Maw-klusuaqn) Benefits office. Both parties signed the MOU in early September 2013. The purpose and focus of the MOU is to guide ongoing discussions regarding a CBA (Collaborative Benefits Agreement) between the Project and Mi’kmaq communities.”

The document also states the company has identified “key Aboriginal” communities and organizations, Including; Paq’tnkek First Nation, Millbrook First Nation, Shubenacadie Band, Assembly of NS Mi’kmaq Chiefs, KMK, Aboriginal Employment Partnership, Native Council of NS and the Nova Scotia Office of Aboriginal Affairs.

According to the same document they have already held community meetings and met with the chiefs of; Paq'tnkek, Millbrook and Indian Brook, between 2012 and 2013.

The Conservative Government of New Brunswick is adamant about developing their natural gas resources, but, as noted above, has met significant opposition to these plans from First Nations and New Brunswick communities alike. It remains to be seen how Pieridae will move forward with this project with such opposition to the actual extraction of their supply.

Details of this project can be found on the Nova Scotia Environment website, with pages related to the Environmental Assessment and Project Description which can be accessed at Nova Scotia's Environment website.

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Topics: Environment
1172 words


good article

I am pretty sure that "promising" one-third of the gas coming from New Brunswick is mostly politics. The players would LIKE that- it will make them more money.

But the real economics of this is based on the gas supply being what there is from the NS offshore, and the rest [at least the great majority] being fracked gas from the US. But they cannot say that. Even though anyone looking at investing or participating would know that.

That depends on the Maritime and Northest pipeline being reversed to import gas from New England rather than export as it was built for. Technically, that is easy, and apparently the approvals would be simple.

The United States until very recently HAD been real hesitatnt to allow export of gas. But NAFTA means gas for use in Canada is not an export. Meaning that if the pipeline was reversed, all the offshore gas could go to LNG, and maybe they can finangle a backdoor nod and wink to allow US shale gas to end up at the proposed LNG plant. But it is looking like export from the US is going to be easier than that from now on.

There currently is no pipeline to bring shale gas from Pennsylvannia to New England. But that will probably be built by 2016.... by the time the Goldboro proposal could be off the ground.

The hazardous wastes disposal discussed in the EA, like you said it is vague about that. [Which is typical of so called "environmental assessments".] But even worse, they are only talking about the wastes from the construction project. There is nothing at all about environmental impacts and contingencies around the LNG project itself.

On that, the government seems to be saying "already done for the LNG import plant" that was never built.


As someone who spent my childhood and teenage years in that area of Nova Scotia, I am interested in wanting to know where the writer of this article got his information from. Watch for another comment which I may be posting at later date.

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