Canada’s first LNG shipment reaches China

Canada’s first LNG shipment from British Columbia arrived at its destination in China last week, FortisBC said.

A single ISO container of gas left FortisBC’s Tilbury LNG storage facility in mid-November. Days later, it set sail through Burrard Inlet on its journey to its final destination in China on Dec 14.

Although the shipment is small at about 17 tonnes or 950 gigajoules of gas, it is considered a turning point for BC’s LNG industry, and a “beginning of a golden age of natural gas,” according to Calvin Xu, CEO of True North Energy that oversaw the logistics of the shipment.

True North Energy acquired LNG export licenses in 2015 and in 2017 signed an LNG supply deal with a Chinese buyer.

The company partnered with ForticBC to supply deliver the shipment from the latter’s Tilbury LNG facility.

The voyage was by container ship, bypassing receiving LNG terminals and regasification facilities, FortisBC said, adding that this process reduces the cost and infrastructure constraints of the conventional model of shipping by LNG tanker.

“Shorter transit time means lower transportation costs and quicker turnaround, which make exporting LNG from BC to China more competitive than any other North American location,” Xu said.

FortisBC is expanding the Tilbury LNG storage facility to meet growing domestic demand and help customers like True North Energy supply overseas markets. With the first shipment having reached China, FortisBC is now looking forward to a new shipment of four ISO containers to China in mid-December and the prospect of more LNG shipments in the new year.

“We’re still focused on our domestic LNG market and helping our industrial and heavy-duty vehicle customers in BC transition to lower-carbon natural gas,” FortisBC director of LNG market development, Vito Triggiano said.