A Chevron logo appears at a gas station in Miami on July 25, 2011. The Canada Energy Regulator says it has approved an application from Chevron Canada to export natural gas from the Kitimat LNG project for a term of 40 years over environmental opposition. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Lynne Sladky

Chevron’s move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

The decision by Chevron Corp. to try to sell its 50 per cent stake in the Kitimat LNG project on the B.C. coast throws a symbolic dash of “long-dated cold water” on growth in the Canadian natural gas industry, an analysis says.

The California-based company announced the potential sale in its 2020 budget, adding it would also cut funding to gas-related ventures including Kitimat LNG and its shale gas fields in the northeastern United States.

It also announced a charge of at least US$10 billion against its assets because of expected lower long-term prices for oil and gas.

“With (Tuesday’s) budget, Chevron threw some long-dated cold water on the Canadian gas macro, as the company announced they are reducing funding for the Kitimat LNG project,” said analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in a report Wednesday.

“While we don’t think investors were baking in any long-term gas demand related to the project, any advancements likely would have been well received.”

The analysts pointed out Chevron has access to about 100 million cubic feet per day of gas production to supply the proposed project to super-cool and ship out as much as 2.3 billion cubic feet of gas per day.

Chevron’s move is the latest in a string of setbacks for B.C.’s nascent liquefied natural gas industry which once boasted nearly 20 proposed projects with the implied promise of a new higher-priced export market in Asia for Western Canada’s abundant natural gas resources.

READ MORE: LNG Canada project gradually taking shape

Chevron is not the first company to want out of Kitimat LNG — it bought its 50 per cent stake from Calgary-based Encana Corp. and Houston-based EOG Resources, Inc., in December 2012.

In the same transaction, Houston-based producer Apache Corp. raised its stake in Kitimat LNG from 40 per cent to 50 per cent. But two years later, under pressure from activist investors, it sold that stake to Australian Woodside Petroleum Ltd., which remains Chevron’s partner.

Malaysian energy giant Petronas cancelled its Pacific NorthWest LNG project in 2017 and later joined the Royal Dutch Shell-led $40-billion LNG Canada project, which remains the only project under construction after being green-lighted in 2018.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Wednesday the federal government still sees a “very positive opportunity” for LNG in Canada, suggesting Chevron remains committed to seeing the project move forward despite its efforts to rebalance its asset portfolio.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Earlier this month, the Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG, doubling its previous licence duration and nearly doubling the potential output of the facility to 18 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year, a substantial increase over the previous 10-million-tonne licence which was set to expire at the end of this year.

Chevron said its decisions are part of its global portfolio optimization effort focused on improving returns and driving value.

“Although Kitimat LNG is a globally competitive LNG project, the strength of Chevron Corp.’s global portfolio of investment opportunities is such that the Kitimat LNG Project will not be funded by Chevron and may be of higher value to another company,” Chevron said in a statement.

“Chevron intends to commence soliciting expressions of interest for its interests in the Kitimat LNG Project. No timeline has been set to conclude this process.”

The company said it would continue to work with Woodside and government and First Nations partners during the process.

The Kitimat LNG project includes upstream natural gas lands in the Liard and Horn River Basins in northeastern B.C., the 471-kilometre Pacific Trail Pipeline and the gas liquefaction facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat.

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Abbotsford Hospice Society holds community scavenger hunt

Road to Gratitude event takes place on Sunday, July 19 by the carload

New book celebrates people and events that shaped Abbotsford

Pre-sales launched for Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry, to be released in fall

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

Most Read