Quebec LNG backers seek EU boost to revive rejected project

A mock up of GNL Quebec Inc.'s Energie Saguenay project Source: Energie Saguenay website

Promoters of a stalled project to build a C$9 billion ($7.2 billion) terminal to export liquefied natural gas from Quebec in Canada are seeking to revive the plan by garnering support from Europe, which is scrambling to find alternatives to Russian supplies.

GNL Quebec Inc’s Energie Saguenay project was rejected by both the federal and provincial authorities in recent months on environmental grounds. The company has since been contacted by numerous stakeholders inside Canada and Europe requesting help to solve the continent’s energy-security challenges, GNL Quebec said in an emailed response to Bloomberg questions.

The company, which declined to say with whom it’s been discussing the plan, said it’s encouraged by the fact that both Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson have publicly expressed interest in the country’s ability to supply LNG, and potentially hydrogen at a later stage, to Europe.

Kaitlin Power, a spokeswoman for Canada’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, did not comment on the Energie Saguenay project, but said that in general if a development was previously rejected by an environmental assessment it would need to be changed to go through a new evaluation.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Canadian government has held discussions with European countries about supplying them with LNG as nations from Germany to Poland to France to Italy work on plans to reduce their dependence on Moscow. The talks are taking place even though Canada currently doesn’t have any terminals to export the super-chilled fuel. 

While numerous projects have been proposed, just one is currently under construction off the Pacific Coast. Promoters of LNG projects in eastern Canada say they would benefit from abundant and cheap hydro power, a cold climate, and a shorter distance to Europe, making their fuel less carbon intensive than that of terminals in the Gulf of Mexico.

Energie Saguenay is targeting an export capacity of 11 million tons of LNG per year, with the gas being sourced from Western Canada. The project would also require the construction of a C$5 billion, 780-kilometre long pipeline to feed the plant. GNL Quebec is chaired by former Bechtel Group Inc. partner Jim Illich, and backed by Jim Breyer, a U.S. venture capitalist, according to its website.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Dear user, please be aware that we use cookies to help users navigate our website content and to help us understand how we can improve the user experience. If you have ideas for how we can improve our services, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to email us. By continuing to browse you agree to our use of cookies. Please see our Privacy & Cookie Usage Policy to learn more.