BCSEA opposes LNG storage expansion project

November 30, 2022

BCSEA opposes LNG storage expansion project

By Bill Andrews and Tom Hackney

In a November 21 final argument to the BC Utilities Commission, BCSEA opposed approval of the $769-million LNG storage expansion project on Tilbury Island proposed by gas utility FortisBC Energy Inc. (FEI).

BCSEA said the Tilbury LNG Storage Expansion (TLSE) Project is not in the public interest under the Utilities Commission Act. BCSEA expressed resistance to new investment in natural gas infrastructure in BC in the absence of solid justification, because of the risk of locking‐in fossil‐fuel gas infrastructure and inhibiting the reduction of GHG emissions.

FEI says the TLSE Project would improve resiliency by enabling the LNG (liquefied natural gas) to be re-gasified and injected into the gas distribution system in the event of a “no-flow event” during the winter on the Enbridge T-South transmission pipeline. The T-South pipeline from northern BC delivers most of the gas used by FEI’s gas customers in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island. In October 2018, T-South was blocked by an explosion, and customers were asked to cut back their use of gas. Luckily the weather was fairly warm, and a partial supply of gas resumed fairly quickly.

The TLSE Project is also intertwined with the Tilbury Phase 2 Project, which is not regulated by the BCUC. If approved, Tilbury Phase 2 would supply LNG for exports and marine transportation. BCSEA told the BCUC that it is concerned with the prospect of FEI customers paying for a large amount of LNG storage — that may well never be used in response to a winter no-flow event on T-South, but could well be used on a regular basis for LNG exports.

BCSEA concluded that the high cost and rate impact of the TLSE Project is out of proportion to the resiliency benefits, taking into consideration the urgency of decarbonizing the natural gas distribution system in B.C.

A BCUC decision on FEI’s Tilbury LNG Storage Expansion project is expected early in the 2023.


BCSEA Final Argument: https://docs.bcuc.com/Documents/Arguments/2022/DOC_68840_2022-11-21-BCSEA-Final-Argument.pdf

BCUC Proceeding for FEI TLSE Project: https://www.bcuc.com/OurWork/ViewProceeding?applicationid=843