FortisBC: Boosting capabilities and exploring further LNG possibilities

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Dave Bennett, Director External Affairs, Fortis BC
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Global gas demand is predicted to grow 1.6% each year for the next five years, as reported by the IEA. With gas consumption growing, Canada is working hard to amplify their gas market and provide that much-needed supply. Following on from their first shipment of LNG from Canada to China, FortisBC are now expanding their LNG storage facility to meet the projected long-term growth.

With the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference taking place 14-16 May, Gastech Insights spoke with Executive Advisory Board Member and Director of External Affairs at FortisBC, Dave Bennett, to gain exclusive insight on project progress and what is next for 2018.

Gastech Insights: In your opinion, what is the potential competitiveness of Canadian LNG in global markets?

Dave Bennett: Canada has a number of clear advantages that make its LNG competitive in global markets. Canada has one of the largest and most productive natural gas deposits in the world presenting a huge opportunity for energy-hungry markets. The country has been exporting natural gas safely and reliably for many years and currently ranks fourth in global exports. We also benefit from some of the lowest cost trading hubs in North America. FortisBC customers also tell us that B.C.’s proximity to Asia is a factor that weighs in our favour.

So Canada has the supply, the expertise, and the pricing to compete globally with the added benefit of a shorter shipping route to the world’s largest gas importers.

Gastech Insights: FortisBC ignited B.C.’s LNG dream last November (2017) after shipping the first Canadian LNG export to an Asian country. What is next for the organization?

Dave Bennett: FortisBC will continue to supply our more than 1 million domestic customers with gas and seed our growing natural gas for transportation business. We will also develop more opportunities to export LNG to customers in China. We’re intent on supplying small-scale customers in countries like China with Canadian LNG to speed their transition from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas.

Following the successful delivery of our first shipment in December, we’ve since had a second shipment arrive in China in mid-January. At the same time, a third shipment is being fuelled for departure. A number of other shipments to China are scheduled for February with a variety of different customers. 

Gastech Insights: When the $400-million expansion of your Tilbury facility is complete, what will the extra supply mean for the region?

Dave Bennett: The expansion will add approximately one-million gigajoules of LNG storage as well as 34,000 gigajoules of liquefaction capacity per day, roughly tripling our storage capacity and boosting our liquefaction capabilities nearly eight-fold.

FortisBC saw a record number of new customers this year and the expanded plant will serve growing residential, commercial and industrial demand. This expansion also allows us to serve what we anticipate will be significant growth in the natural gas for the transportation sector. As more heavy-duty vehicles and ships transition to cleaner-burning natural gas, this will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region.

Finally, the added capacity will allow us to further explore export possibilities to customers in Asia as well as serve an LNG marine jetty that is being proposed adjacent to our Tilbury plant. More throughput in our network helps us keep our delivery costs stable and pass those savings on to customers.

Gastech Insights: Why should industry players attend the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference in May?

Dave Bennett: The Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition is a unique opportunity to make connections and catch a glimpse of what’s going on in our market. Many of the key players in the industry will be there and, with plenty of networking opportunities, it’s a great place to strategize and cement new partnerships. There are dozens of industry leaders on the program who will speak to emerging trends and opportunities in Canada, a country working toward becoming a leading LNG exporter. It’s a go-to event that shouldn’t be missed.

Share your insights and join the conversation: What do you think the extra supply of LNG will mean for the region? Leave your comment below.

The Canada Gas and LNG Conference provides a vital opportunity to connect with the key players and discuss the evolving developments within the region's industry. Register for your early bird rate delegate pass now.

Image courtesy of FortisBC