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Flaring to light up the sky as LNG start-up readies in northwest B.C.

Testing part of year-long startup procedures for new refinery nearing completion in Kitimat
LNG Canada’s flaring system is now under construction and visible from Kitimat and Kitamaat Village. Photo courtesy LNG Canada

Residents around Kitimat should prepare for a prolonged period of continuous gas flaring in the second quarter of 2024 as LNG Canada readies to begin operations at its new plant.

The company says the practice is standard during startup and is expected to last over three months due to the thousands of equipment pieces undergoing testing. The flame will be visible to the neighbouring communities, but a spokesperson did not comment on how bright the flames will be. The primary products emitted will be water vapor and carbon dioxide.

“Flaring is a safety critical system and part of safe plant operations — it provides a reliable and safe way to combust gas from equipment when maintenance is required,” LNG Canada spokesperson, Paul Hagel said. He added the flare system has a combustion efficiency rate of 99.53 per cent, reducing CO2 equivalent emissions by 25 to 30 per cent compared to other flare systems.

As as the project approaches the final stages of its facility construction, now over 85 per cent complete, the focus is shifting to a critical, year-long start up phase. LNG Canada is undertaking a series of public and government engagements are underway to explain the next steps and processes.

Installation of LNG Canada’s flaring system has already begun, and the new vapour and liquid flare derricks are now visible from Kitamaat Village and Kitimat.

Once operational, Hagel said it difficult to say with certainty how bright the flare might be.

“We expect a strong glow in the night sky, which will be visible by community members. The flare’s brightness will likely be comparable to similar-sized oil and gas manufacturing facilities in B.C. such as the flare at the refineries in Prince George or Burnaby.”

He added the flaring was an anticipated part of the facility’s operational plan and is a standard practice for LNG facilities worldwide during start-up. Nonetheless, LNG Canda implemented technical measures to reduce flaring as much as possible.

Intermittent flaring will occur as the facility moves into early operations, with the frequency decreasing over time. Once the facility is fully operational, flaring will occur primarily during only maintenance and BC Hydro power outages.

In early 2023, LNG Canada began its public engagement program about the flaring system and upcoming flaring events, most recently in Kitamaat Village on Nov. 21 and Kitimat on Nov. 22.

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About the Author: Quinn Bender

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