Last hope for LNG terminal in Nova Scotia involves U.S.-sourced natural gas, change in N.B. policy

The proposed Goldboro LNG project would be located on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore. (Pieridae Energy - image credit)
The proposed Goldboro LNG project would be located on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore. (Pieridae Energy - image credit)

Calgary-based Pieridae Energy is keeping its slender hopes alive for a slimmed-down proposed liquefied natural gas terminal in Nova Scotia.

The company has asked the U.S. government for more time to export U.S.-sourced natural gas into Canada for the project. The previous deadline to start work expired in February 2023.

The U.S. gas would supplement the main supply, which is natural gas from New Brunswick. That would require the province to lift its fracking moratorium, said Pieridae president Alfred Sorensen.

"Where the project stands is to re-evaluate the size of the project to something less ambitious, but still a significant size at over $3 billion [U.S.]," Sorenson said.

Hopes rest on Higgs government

He said Pieridae did not kill the project because "the province of New Brunswick has shown a renewed interest to potentially develop their gas resources within the province, and we hold a significant land position in New Brunswick."

"So we're looking to see if that ... is something that can happen and you know if this doesn't work then the project is definitely dead."

Pieridae received approval from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2016 to export U.S.-sourced natural gas via the Maritimes and Northeast pipeline to a proposed LNG terminal in Guysborough County in eastern Nova Scotia.

The company has asked for a five-year extension.

It told U.S. regulators that it received a revised, smaller design for the terminal in January.

"Pieridae USA asserts that granting the requested extension of time will enable Pieridae USA to complete the necessary detailed design, engineering and costing work in order to commence construction and place the Goldboro LNG Project into service," the U.S. Department of Energy said this week when it posted notice of the application.

In its application, Pieridae said it has spent $41 million Cdn on the project to date and is ready to award contracts for construction of all marine facilities, site preparation and camp construction to a First Nations partnership in Nova Scotia.

Why N.B. gas is needed

"We're early days and we certainly keep our filing because we have an interest to maintain our U.S. export license. That gives us just optionality to use U.S. gas during certain times of the year. That's why we've done that. But it will not be the base-load volume that allows for the final investment decision to occur," Sorensen said.

The company has stepped back from the project before, blaming cost pressures and the pandemic.

Sorensen says the option of receiving larger volumes of natural gas from Western Canada are off the table because there is no political will to make that happen, particularly on the federal side.