HALIFAX: The proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, pipeline and related facilities near Bear Head, Richmond County is not shutting down, says a spokesperson for the parent company responsible for the project.
Micah Hirschfield, senior manager of communications with LNG Limited, responded to Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster’s concerns that the company is no longer working with in-province consultants.
“LNG Limited is committed and confident in our ability to deliver Bear Head LNG to the global energy market,” Hirschfield told The Reporter. “We continue to progress the project, taking steps to maintain the advanced state of readiness, including the project site at Point Tupper on Cape Breton Island, our regulatory permits, and our regional interfaces including local communities, Indigenous Peoples, regulators, politicians and commercial partners.”
In the provincial legislature, MacMaster raised concerns about the future of the LNG terminal during question period.
“The current owners of the terminal are based in Houston and I understand they are shutting down Nova Scotia operations,” he said. “I am concerned that they have lost interest in advancing the project.”
MacMaster told The Reporter the project could benefit the area and that news of the office clousre is cause for concern about the future of the project.
Hirschfield said to be very clear, and he cannot stress enough, they are not shutting down the Bear Head project.
“Recent internal decisions eliminated on-site consultants enabling direct project management by our LNG industry-leading experts located in our Houston office,” he said. “We continue to aggressively pursue every opportunity to bring the Bear Head project to Final Investment Decision.”
MacMaster’s preference would be to see a local office so there is some benefit to the province while the project is advancing.
“I know it would be a project that would bring an economic boost to the area and I feel more confident with having some people on the ground here in Nova Scotia trying to continue to advance the project,” he said. “The company has reached out to me about it and I appreciate them in doing that.”
MacMaster indicated millions of dollars have been invested in the construction of the terminal but it has never been used and sits on prime property that once belonged to taxpayers.
“Part of the deal when this land was sold was that the project had to continue advancing or the provincial government could buy the land back,” he said. “When the [Utility and Review Board] approved the construction permit, they required Nova Scotia-based management capabilities. Both of these factors give government leverage to encourage this project to advance.”
MacMaster said he realizes the world is moving away from carbon-based fuels, but as long as people are still using them, they might as well use gas passing though a Strait-based terminal.
“The establishment of this terminal would boost the local economy, and government should ensure it is doing its part to look out for our interests.”