A liquefied natural gas export terminal proposed for Goldboro may have some company.
Indian gas giant GAIL is reportedly eyeing Canaport LNG, a Saint John, N.B., facility co-owned by Spanish oil and gas giant Repsol and Irving Oil Ltd., with plans to convert it from an import to an export facility.
“For half the cost of a new export facility, it could be turned around,” said Phillip Knoll, who heads Corridor Resources Inc.
“There are several facilities in the U.S. that were import terminals that are being converted, as we speak, to export terminals.”
Corridor, based in Halifax, is focused on three major potential oil and gas plays: Old Harry, an undersea area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; the Frederick Brook shale prospect in New Brunswick; and Quebec’s Anticosti Island.
Knoll was excited Wednesday about Pieridae Energy Canada’s plans to develop a multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas export facility in Guysborough County.
“It’s a great announcement for anyone who is looking at developing resources in Atlantic Canada, be it onshore in New Brunswick or offshore in Nova Scotia, because it potentially will create quite a bit of significant demand for our product.
“This will help promote the development of our resource, for sure, if it goes ahead.”
He wouldn’t say if he has talked to Pieridae about supplying the company with gas to liquefy and ship to European and Asian markets, where the price ranges between three and four times higher than it is in North America.
“We’re going to sell our natural gas to any market that wants to pay a reasonable price for it.”
Pieridae is proposing to build its export facility in Goldboro close to the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, a 1,400-kilometre transmission system built to transport natural gas between developments in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States.
Sources said the plan is to reverse the flow in the pipeline, originally built to transport gas from offshore Nova Scotia to the U.S., to bring in shale gas from New York and Pennsylvania, liquefy it and then put it on ships for export.
Maritimes & Northeast spokesman Steve Rankin said Wednesday that several companies have broached the subject of reversing the pipeline flow.
“We have received numerous inquiries from existing and potential customers to look at scenarios that would involve reversal of the pipeline both for future service of the Canadian market and for the potential export of LNG,” Rankin said.
There is no imminent plan to reverse the gas flow, “but it certainly is feasible,” he said.
The flow has been reversed about a dozen times in the last two years, Rankin said.
“We have, in the past, reversed flow in our pipeline when some of the domestic sources of supply have been down for planned maintenance.”
But even with premium prices in Asia and Europe, companies may be hard-pressed to turn a profit bringing gas from the U.S. to Nova Scotia, liquefying it and then shipping it overseas, said Bill Gwozd, senior vice-president of gas services at gas advisory company Ziff Energy of Calgary.
“We’re not evaluating Goldboro as a project,” Gwozd said. “But what we’re just saying is that, overall, on the Canadian-U.S. East Coast, the target markets could be Europe, and we think it’s break-even at best, and then loss at worst.”
By going public with its plans, he suggested Pieridae may be trying to flush out potential customers willing to pay a premium for natural gas.
“Sometimes in the desert, if you’re dying of thirst, you might pay a lot more for a bottle of Coca-Cola.”