Chinese trade mission to B.C. yields early-stage partnerships

Potentially billions of dollars worth of deals were signed during last week’s trade mission involving visitors from Guangdong

Christy Clark oversees the signing of a business contract during the Guangdong trade mission | B.C. government

Nearly a dozen agreements potentially worth billions of dollars were signed May 8 and 9 during a trade mission when B.C. hosted more than 200 government and business representatives from Guangdong, China, according to the B.C. government.

Many of the deals are in the preliminary stages, however, and may not come to fruition.

For example, one of the pacts was a preliminary agreement that involved B.C.-based Woodfibre LNG.

Woodfibre announced that its Singapore-based affiliate, Woodfibre LNG Export Pte, has signed an agreement to supply one million tonnes of LNG to Guangzhou Gas Group for 25 years, starting in 2020.

The yet-to-be-built Woodfibre, near Squamish, has passed through the environmental approval stage but its future rests in part on FortisBC getting approval for its natural gas pipeline, which would feed the Woodfibre LNG plant. Woodfibre LNG owner Pacific Oil & Gas Ltd. would then also have to commit to spend an estimated $1.7 billion to build the facility.

The sale is huge in that it represents half of Woodfibre LNG’s potential liquefied natural gas capacity.

The Guangdong delegation, led by Guangdong Party Secretary Hu Chunhua, also included representatives from Guangdong Synergy Hydrogen Power Technology Co. Ltd. (GSHPT).

GSHPT signed a non-binding letter of intent with Burnaby’s Ballard Power Systems that could see Ballard transfer fuel cell technology and make fuel cell products in the province of Guangdong.

BC Hydro also got into the act, signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Guangdong Power Grid to potentially co-operate by exchanging information on smart-grid technology and energy-saving programs.