ARICHAT: The municipality and a company behind a proposed natural gas facility have reached a tentative tax agreement.

During a special meeting of Richmond Municipal Council on September 19, councillors voted in favour of an agreement with Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (LNGL), the parent company behind the Bear Head LNG project.

Details of the agreement were kept confidential, but in an e-mail, Richmond Warden Brian Marchand confirmed there were “many hours put into this agreement.”

Paul MacLean, strategic and regulatory affairs advisor for Bear Head LNG and the Bear Paw pipeline project – which are both owned by LNGL – also said he couldn’t get into the details but confirmed they reached a tentative deal with the municipality.

“We have a confidentiality agreement in place with respect to the agreement but I can say that it will have to go to the provincial government and once that takes place, we can publicly expose the contents of the agreement,” said MacLean, who noted the agreement deals with property taxes.

“We struck a similar agreement in 2004. It was a 20-year tax agreement… but really the dynamics of the project have completely changed since 2004 so really a new agreement was required.”

MacLean said the agreement provides certainty over that aspect of the project.

“I think it’s very important that it shows Richmond County Council is very progressive in their approach to try and attract industry to the municipality,” said MacLean. “I think it’s an agreement that works for both parties.”

The agreement, said MacLean, should be sent to the Department of Municipal Affairs within a week. MacLean said the agreement would work its way through the department’s processes from that point.

“I’d like to reinforce that this was a very important agreement for the Bear Head LNG project,” he said. “It allows us some certainty over municipally taxes for the first phases of the project and I think it’s very important that the municipal council struck a very balanced deal that works for both Bear Head and Richmond County.”

In other Bear Head news, MacLean pointed to renewed interest in the Bear Head project from western based natural gas producers, noting things are going along “very well” when it comes to securing a natural gas supply for the project.

“We hope that we’ll be in a position in the very near future to make announcements in that regard as well,” he said.

Bear Head LNG is a proposed LNG export terminal designed with an expected total production capacity of up to 8 million tonnes per annum of LNG. LNGL is also behind the Bear Paw pipeline, which is a proposed 62.5-kilometre natural gas pipeline from Goldboro to the proposed Bear Head site in Point Tupper.