POINT TUPPER: Delivering on its commitments to ensuring local benefits and meaningful Mi’kmaq participation, Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. through its 100 per cent owned project company, Bear Head LNG Corporation Inc. announced February 19 that it signed agreements with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association Ltd. and Cape Breton Unions.

Bear Head LNG signed a mutual benefits agreement with the assembly and entering into the agreements is a commitment by both parties to develop the project in an environmentally sustainable manner.

“This is a significant milestone for Bear Head LNG and the Benefits Agreement demonstrates our commitment to providing direct benefits to the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and their communities. We look forward to the continuing participation of the assembly throughout the development of our LNG facility,” said John Baguley, Chief Operating Officer for Bear Head LNG. “Our collective work on this project, and commitment to environmental sustainability, will position Bear Head LNG for success.”

Terrance Paul, Co-Chair of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs, said in a media release this agreement is an important step in ensuring that Mi’kmaq rights are recognized and protected in building our relationship with Bear Head LNG.

“The development of the Bear Head LNG facility will create important economic opportunities for our communities and for all Nova Scotians.”

Bear Head LNG also announced the signing of a project labour agreement with the Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association Ltd. and Cape Breton Unions, which ensures a stable work environment for the development of their proposed liquefied natural gas facility in Point Tupper.

“This project has potential to be the biggest project ever built in Nova Scotia, we’re talking about an investment in the range of $6 billion for the construction of the LNG export terminal alone,” Baguley said. “A labour agreement creating a stable environment for the life of the project will help position the project for success.”

The Labour Agreement governs the terms of employment for employees represented by the unions at the Bear Head LNG facility. The two will work together to support positive labour relations and conditions, including a diverse, safe, efficient and respectful work environment, while also giving priority to qualified residents Cape Breton Island and mainland Nova Scotia.

“The Labour Agreement with Bear Head LNG will improve its competitiveness and is an important milestone in its effort to approve the project. The [project] will create jobs and opportunity for the local labour force for decades,” said Cape Breton Building and Construction Trades President Jack Wall. “Our members are excited about the Labour Agreement and the stability it offers them over the life of the project. This is a new milestone for us; it is the first time the Cape Breton Building and Construction Trades has entered into a project labour agreement.”

In terms of size of the project, during the construction phase, Bear Head LNG will have in the range of 1,500 jobs on site, then for the long-term operations, it will provide 200 direct high-paying jobs on site and a number of in-direct jobs that it provides to the region.

The facility will run for a minimum of 20-years but Baguley said he honestly thinks it’ll probably be closer to 50 years.

Bear Head LNG is proposing to build an LNG export facility on the naturally deep waters of the Strait of Canso in Point Tupper. The proposed facility will comprise an initial development of an eight to 10 million tonne per annum facility with the capacity and approvals for further expansion and will feed 1.4 to 1.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day that will result in two to three shiploads of LNG per week shipping to Europe.

“So now we’re marketing our LNG to the market, Bear Head is really well positioned, Europe is a huge market for LNG and from the Bear Head site, because of the way Nova Scotia sticks out into the North Atlantic, the sailing distances to the major LNG import points in Europe are only five to seven days,” Baguley said. “That really makes it an advantage because LNG shipping costs can be upwards of $100,000 USD per day, so you can save millions on the shipping cost just by being close like this.”

The real challenge for the project today is securing a gas supply for the facility. Since becoming involved with the Bear Head project in 2014, Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. originally envisioned three potential gas paths into the facility.

The first path Baguley said the company looked at was the potential to bring American gas up the Maritime and North East pipeline up the east coast, coming into the pipelines in Goldboro, and using their Bear Paw pipeline would bring the gas from Goldboro to their jobsite.

“The problem with this is in the United States, some of the connecting lines that we were anticipating to be built out of the Marcellus Gas Fields in Pennsylvania and Ohio, some of those proponents decided not to build them,” he said. “The second path we were looking at was offshore domestic gas off Sable Island and Deep Panuke, but over the last five years, the proponents decided to decommission those facilities, so in the meantime that’s unavailable.”

That leaves one path available for them, Baguley said, which is Western Canadian gas, so the company has been working with Western Canadian gas producers and with Canadian pipeline companies about moving gas eastward to Atlantic Canada.

“We don’t think it’s out of the realm of reasonable. What we would like to see, we would like to see more support particularly from the Canadian government in getting these pipeline built,” he said. “We remain very excited about the project and remain very optimistic about our chances to bring it to market. We are concerned about the challenges about bringing natural gas over to the project, but provincially we’re getting great support and we think the region around Port Hawkesbury is very supportive of the project as well.”