​Woodfibre LNG awards pre-construction contract on the otherwise quiet B.C. LNG front

The Woodfibre LNG Project ostensibly continues its progress towards breaking ground on Canada’s first LNG export facility with the announcement of a pre-construction contract awarded to B.C.-based MATCON Environmental Ltd.

This contract marks the first phase of a multimillion-dollar site clean up to meet health, safety and environmental obligations required before starting construction of Woodfibre’s estimated $1.6 billion LNG facility.

“Over the next few weeks, phase one of the program will see workers start site remediation by removing industrial debris, such as storage tanks and other abandoned equipment, from the former pulp mill site,” the company said in a statement.

Future phases of pre-construction work are expected in the second quarter of 2017, pending approval of required permits.

Woodfibre LNG also expects to award the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its facility in 2017.

In November 4, 2016, Woodfibre greenlighted the project. Despite the confident tone of its subsequent progress announcements, not everyone is a convinced construction of the facility will actually break ground.

GMP FirstEnergy has made no secret of its scepticism that no Canadian west coast LNG project will be sanctioned before 2020.

“The three still most cited LNG projects for the B.C. coastline remain dormant,” analysts wrote in a research report on March 30.

The Pacific NorthWest LNG project led by Petronas remains in a state of limbo.

Shell’s LNG Canada remains quiet, even if some work to firm up cost estimates may be ongoing.

“The small-scale Woodfibre project also remains in limbo, despite having received a formal final investment decision from its project partners,” the report said.

“Actual timing for construction remains highly uncertain as no offtake agreements for the LNG are formally in place. Until there are firm buyers of the LNG, we expect that this project will also be indefinitely delayed.”

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