Canada’s East Coast only has enough natural gas supply to accommodate one new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility, and the project that would boost shipments to Europe the fastest is Repsol’s, Canada’s environment minister told Reuters.
In May, Canada said it was in talks about increasing exports to Europe with Spanish company Repsol LNG regarding its facility in New Brunswick, and also with Pieridae Energy which has proposed building an LNG facility in Nova Scotia.
Steven Guilbeault, Environment Minister, said: “The amount of gas that is available would be available only for one facility at this point.” The Minister also said that the idea of constructing new gas pipelines in Canada was not “very realistic”.
Mr Guilbeault added: “Repsol is probably the fastest project that could be deployed because it requires minimal permitting – there’s already an existing facility, (and a) gas line is right there.”
The vast majority of Canada’s natural gas is produced in the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.
Europe is seeking to diversify its energy supplies as it pivots away from Russian oil and gas after the invasion of Ukraine. Canada’s foreign minister says that talks have taken place with Canada’s European allies, including Spain and Germany, about increasing its East Coast exports.
Canada, the world’s sixth-largest natural gas producer according to 2020 figures, does not currently have any functioning LNG facilities, though one is under construction on the West Coast.
Canada is seeking to increase oil and gas exports by 300,000 barrels per day by the end of 2022 to help improve global energy security, but in the short term the industry is operating at its current capacity.
Making the current Repsol LNG import facility in Saint John, New Brunswick, also an export facility may help lift supply in the medium term, as long as the facility respects Canada’s requirements for steady reductions of carbon and methane emissions.
Mr Guilbeault, referring to the Repsol project, said: “It’s a project that could be deployed rather rapidly, but we’re still talking about some years” before it could export LNG to Europe.
Repsol, when asked about the minister’s comments, said in a statement that it “will look at any/all business that enhances or creates value at the Saint John LNG, including the potential to add liquefaction capabilities to the existing facility.”
While Canada has said it is keen to help its European allies, the government is also committed to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. However, reduction goals have been missed regularly in the past and approving new fossil fuel projects would appear to run counter to these climate goals.
Mr Guilbeault stated that he has spoken with German officials about increasing gas flows, adding that their wish is for the new LNG facility to be converted to export hydrogen instead of gas long before 2050.
Mr Guilbeault said that the Germans are “very keen on finding ways to convert these LNG facilities to hydrogen as soon as the technology is available.”
For more information visit www.repsol.com