Prince Rupert laments loss of second LNG project of the summer

The city of Prince Rupert is lamenting the loss of yet another proposed liquefied natural gas plant as a missed opportunity.

Nexen Energy, a Calgary-based subsidiary of Chinese oil giant CNOOC Ltd., announced on Thursday that it and Japanese partner INPEX Gas British Columbia were halting work on the Aurora LNG project which was proposed for construction on Digby Island near the port city.

Prince Rupert Manager of Economic Development Paul Vindittelli said the Nexen project would have been an important boost for local workers.

“There were jobs [for] 300-350 people,” said Vindittelli.

READ MORE: $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project dead

The city is now hoping to generate employment opportunities through other development in the region, Vinditelli said.

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“We are going to get to those numbers with the container port, with Ray-Mont Logistics, with AltaGas and a few other projects that are coming down the pipe.”

WATCH: Woodfibre LNG opponents take to the water in Howe Sound

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Woodfibre LNG opponents take to the water in Howe Sound – Aug 26, 2017

While Nexen said it was pulling out of the project due to market conditions, which it said didn’t support plans for a large scale development, Vinditelli said the city is staying positive about long term opportunities.

“I think one day, for Canada to tap into the LNG industry, I think yeah, that’s a real possibility. These industries seem to have a life cycle of ups and downs and it’s about timing. And the time may not be right now, but we may have something in the future.”

The Aurora project was one of the province’s more advanced LNG proposals. It was still waiting on a provincial environmental assessment certificate, but had tentatively scheduled phase one construction for 2020, with plans to begin exporting by 2025.

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READ MORE: Disappointment on B.C.’s north coast as Pacific NorthWest LNG scrapped

The loss of the Nexen project is the second blow this summer to LNG hopes ion B.C.’s north coast.

Back in August, Malaysian energy giant Petronas backed out of the $36-billion Pacific Northwest LNG project that was slated for Lelu Island, just 20 kilometres south of Prince Rupert.

Municipalities in the region had hoped that plant would have also created between 300 and 400 long term jobs.

In a recent report, the National Energy Board warned that Canada is a late entrant to the global LNG market and the next seven years will be critical to the development of the industry.

-With files from the Canadian Press

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