BC studies opportunity to develop LNG bunkering hub

Thursday, 03 November 2022
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Expansion of LNG infrastructure in northwestern Canada could open opportunities to develop a major new marine fuel bunkering hub, according to the Business Council of British Columbia. 

Plans are currently underway to expand the Tilbury LNG facility, owned by energy firm FortisBC, with the potential to develop the Tilbury Marine Jetty and attract a new generation of LNG-powered vessels.

“The marine sector is a logical area of opportunity,” Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of BC, comments, “For BC, the Tilbury Marine Jetty (now in the final stages of environment review) and the expansion of FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG facility could displace marine diesel and bunker fuels in ships calling on BC waters. These two projects could reduce GHG emissions by as much as 1.2 million tonnes per year… which would reduce GHG emissions by an estimated 1.3 million tonnes per year,”

Affiliate partnerships

The region aims to learn lessons from the Port of Vancouver, which welcomed the first of a new generation of dual-fuel vessels in November 2020 but was unable to complete LNG bunkering due to a lack of infrastructure. As a result, the 17330-deadweight-tonne Sakura Leader was forced to refuel using diesel despite the relatively close proximity to low-emission LNG supply.

“BC need not be left behind,” Denise Mullen, director of Environment, Sustainability and Indigenous Relations at the Business Council notes, “A partnership between affiliates of Fortis and Seaspan ULC is proposing the infrastructure needed to facilitate the fuelling of vessels like the Sakura Leader with LNG.”

Under the proposals, the Tilbury Marine Jetty in Delta will also support local Indigenous groups, a move which has seen this form of project garner backing from 65 per cent of Indigenous communities in Canada.

Double capacity

Construction for the next phase of the Tilbury LNG expansion is scheduled to begin as early as 2023, with proposals for a gas line upgrade in the early planning and design stages. Upgrade work is also expected to connect the Tilbury site with a BC Hydro substation in Ladner.

The facility currently fills more than 1,000 LNG containers from its two loading bays for transport and overseas customers per year and aims to more than double capacity in the medium term.

“Our transportation and overseas customers are seeking cost-effective, cleaner energy sources to lower their carbon footprints,” Rob Dunsmore, Tilbury Expansion project director, said “By fuelling with LNG they can significantly reduce emissions on the road to a lower-carbon future.” 


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