25 April 2006

Natural gas project under development in Newfoundland and Labrador

CBC news is reporting this evening that North Atlantic Pipeline Partners L.P. (NAPP) has purchased large tracts near Arnold's Cove with plans to development a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility between the oil transshipment facility at Whiffen Head and the Vitol-owned refinery at Come by Chance.

In 1997, NAPP proposed construction of a 1500 mile pipeline to ship gas from offshore Newfoundland and Labrador to markets in the United States. This approach appears to have been superseded by the use of submerged loading/offloading bouys, at least for movement of gas between Newfoundland and the United States. The submerged bouy system eliminates the need for liquid natural gas ships to enter American ports or facilities near major population centres.

Since 2001, security experts have raised concerns about terrorists targeting liquid natural gas storage and transshipment facilities. The problem has been highlighted at Boston where an LNG facility at Dorchester offloads 33 million cubic feet of LNG.

Purchase of the land was noted privately as long ago as last fall but until today the identity of the land-owners had not been revealed. It is possible the provincial government has known about the NAPP proposal for some time. At around the same time as rumours of the land purchase began to circulate, Premier Danny Williams told the Telegram he would prefer not to see gas simply transported to market without some added value to Newfoundland and Labrador. Bringing gas ashore at Arnold's Cove would make gas available for any uses in eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. Natural gas is being considered by Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro as a replacement fuel for its generating plant at Holyrood.