The start of construction on the Woodfibre LNG project has been delayed in part due to COVID-19.
Uncertainty and work stoppages caused by COVID-19, such as the shutdown of a fabrication yard in China that was making product for the facility in Squamish, has forced the company to delay the construction start.
Construction, expected to begin this summer, is now expected to start in the summer of 2021.
The company is currently applying to the provincial Environmental Assessment Office for a five-year extension to its Environmental Assessment Certificate, which is set to expire in October.
“Amidst unprecedented global uncertainty, I want to be clear that the Woodfibre LNG project is still moving ahead. We are continuing to work with our Indigenous and commercial partners to meet all of our pre-construction commitments," said company president David Keane.
Woodfibre LNG has also had some hiccups with construction companies. One U.S. construction company that Woodfibre LNG is in negotiations with has run into financial trouble. While there is “confidence” the company will be able to service the LNG project, this has slowed things down, said Keane.
“Last fall, Woodfibre LNG was nearing finalization of an [Engineering, Procurement and Construction] contract and announcement of a Final Investment Decision when our preferred contractor for engineering, procurement and module fabrication, encountered financial challenges,” said Keane.
“In January 2020, our preferred contractor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States and is now undergoing proceedings which are expected to continue until July 2020 at the earliest."
The three Environmental Assessment amendments that Woodfibre LNG has asked for to date — for the water-cooling system to switch to air, for administrative changes to the definition of “construction,” and the addition of the floatel — have all involved public comment periods and slowed things down too.
– Squamish Chief