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B.C. backs proposal for liquefied natural gas ship refueling facility, activists oppose it

Last Updated Oct 24, 2019 at 11:23 am PDT

FILE - Pipes at a natural gas plant near Fort St. John, B.C., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. B.C. environmental activist Mike Sawyer says it's "highly probable" he will appeal the decision by the National Energy Board that a pipeline designed to deliver natural gas to the LNG Canada project falls under provincial, not federal, jurisdiction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Sven Biggs with Stand.earth says a fire or leak need only happen once for it to become a huge problem for communities

LNG-powered container, car carrier and cruise vessels could begin arriving in Vancouver as early as next year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – B.C.’s government is throwing its support behind a proposal to build the first ship-to-ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine refueling service along the west coast, in Delta.

The premier’s office says replacing diesel fuel with LNG could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from marine shipping by at least 20 per cent.The province is putting $25,000 toward a study to look at the competitive, environmental and social impact of LNG marine refueling, also known as “bunkering.”

Since 2017, B.C. has trucked LNG to the handful of BC Ferries and Seaspan cargo ferries that use it, but the new plan would add a fueling vessel filled from an onshore terminal in Delta to move LNG directly to large vessels.

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But Sven Biggs with Stand.earth says a fire or leak only needs to happen once for it to become a huge problem for communities nearby.

“It’s something that we think makes this technology not safe for a lot of populated areas,” he says. “For transferring amounts to it, there’s always a certain amount of leakage to it for a liquid that turns into a gas at air temperature.”

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, says LNG-powered container, car carrier and cruise vessels could begin arriving in Vancouver as early as next year.

Global demand for the fuel is expected to exceed nine million tonnes annually by 2025.