By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Oct 4, 2014
Woodfibre LNG claims the use of electric drive will enable the plant to be among the LNG facilities with the lowest GHG emissions in the world.
Woddfibre LNG will emit 80,000 tons of Greenhouse Gases every year, along with 20 tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 17 tons of sulphur oxides (SOx). That pales in comparison to what the company claims the emissions would be if Woodfibre LNG ran on natural gas turbines.
“Limiting air emissions where possible is a priority at Woodfibre LNG.” Byng Giraud.
A year of the same operation on natural gas would emit 450,000 tons of GHGs, 310 tons of NOx, and 17 tons of SOx, said Byng Giraud, the vice-president of Woodfibre LNG.
Giraud said the majority of emissions will come from elements removed from the natural gas prior to liquefaction, which are incinerated.
“Limiting air emissions where possible is a priority at Woodfibre LNG,” Giraud said.
In an interview with the Reporter, Matt Horne of Pembina Institute said the company’s claim of lowest emission doesn’t consider emissions that would come from extracting and processing the shale gas needed to supply the LNG terminals. He said Pembina Institute research shows the shale gas emissions can be 75 per cent of the wellhead to waterline emissions.
“Those shale gas impacts are outside the control of WLNG, but they are of concern to British Columbians,” he said.
Horne said the province claims it has estimated the GHG emissions that could accompany LNG developments but hasn’t made those details public. Pembina Institute, an advocacy and consultancy group, estimates LNG plants in the province, can generate nearly 73 million tons of emissions every year.
“Shale gas impacts are outside the control of WLNG, but they are of concern to British Columbians.” Matt Horne, Pembina Institute.
That would make achieving the emissions targets set by the provincial government ‘implausible’, said Horne, director of the Climate Change program at Pembina. The provincial government’s climate action plan targets a reduction of GHGs by 33 per cent below 2007 by the year 2020.
Tracey Saxby of My Sea to Sky, an anti-LNG group, said the Woodfibre LNG annual emissions are equivalent of adding 10,000 cars to the highway, driving to Vancouver and back every day. That would be more than three times greater than current highway traffic except that all that pollution is being emitted in Squamish, she said.
“How will that pollution get trapped in the Howe Sound on low-wind days, particularly in the winter? How will that impact our air quality, our health, and our viewscapes?”
Saxby called the environment assessment process irresponsible for looking at every project in isolation and ignoring the wider impacts of fracking to obtain natural gas for export.
“Several studies are now showing that natural gas creates more greenhouse gases than any other fossil fuel,” she said.
Pro-LNG advocacy groups say the GHG emissions cited don’t take into account the emissions that would be offset as LNG starts to replace coal in Asia. Centre for LNG, a pro-LNG group based in Washington, D.C., claim their independent study shows an existing domestic coal plant produces two and a half time more emissions on a life cycle basis than that of LNG.
Replacing one coal plant with LNG would equate to removing thousands of cars off the road in the same period of time, the group says. Matt Horne says the provincial government has been making the argument for over two years but hasn’t provided any study to support it.