A rendering of what a floating LNG facility could look like in the Saanich Inlet . (Courtesy Steelhead LNG)

The Malahat First Nation and Steelhead LNG called a news conference this morning announcing their mutually beneficial agreement and long-term lease to explore a floating LNG facility in the Saanich Inlet. The floating structure would be moored at the shoreline with supporting land-based infrastructure on the 525-hectare Bamberton Industrial site, which the Malahat Nation purchased in July.

Steelhead LNG is exploring methods to bring a pipeline to the island. With an output of 600 million tons of LNG, in order to get the gas to the island would involve a pipeline and eventually 6 tankers entering the Saanich Inlet each month. For this to take place will require the passing of multiple pieces of legislation and remains a proposal at this stage. The plant will be 300 meters long, 50 meters wide, and the multi-billion dollar project is expected to generate 200 long-term job positions.

The LNG project will require a great deal of infrastructure, so Steelhead LNG is hoping to put the Port Alberni and Bamberton LNG projects together. Steelhead LNG CEO Nigel Kuzemko on Cfax1070 this morning, “In effect they pay for a bit of the pipeline each and by sharing that, not only do we use existing rights of way where possible, minimizing environmental impact, but it also makes it more economic.”

When asked about the location of a pipeline, Kozemko responded, “At the moment we are not talking about the potential pipeline route. The way we do business at Steelhead is we always talk to First Nations first. Obviously we want to do that with respect to a potential pipeline route and we will be doing that over the next couple of weeks.”

The land allocated for the proposed project is industrial-zoned and is currently a rock quarry, as well as a site for off-loading industrial equipment and materials and other industrial activities. The Malahat First Nation recently acquired the land, tripling the size of their Nation. The transaction is one of the largest Aboriginal land purchases in BC history.

“As a Nation committed to improving the quality of life for our people, we are excited about this opportunity with Steelhead LNG,” said Acting Chief Tommy Harry of the Malahat Nation. “In 2015, our Nation developed a Comprehensive Development Plan that reflects our people’s needs and their vision of how we want to develop our Nation. We recognized that to achieve that vision, we needed to look beyond our Nation to develop new business relationships and economic opportunities.”

More to come.

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