Tilbury LNG plant expansion moves to environmental assessment phase

The LNG plant sits across the Fraser River from Richmond, in an industrial area of Delta

An aerial view of the Tilbury LNG facility | Photo: Fortis/Contributed

The FortisBC Tilbury natural gas plant has moved ahead another step towards expansion.

Both the federal and provincial governments decided last week to move forward with environmental assessments of the proposed project to build a new storage facility and expand natural gas liquefaction capacity at the Delta plant, located on the Fraser River.

But a group opposing the expansion said the plans are “out of line” with the province’s targets for the oil and gas sector.

“We think the minister of environment should have terminated the proposal because of (climate change) and its poor location for an LNG facility right off the bat,” said Peter McCartney, who belongs to Friends of Tilbury and is also a climate campaigner for the Wilderness Committee.

FortisBC wants to start expanding the storage capacity of the Tilbury facility by 2023 – with a goal of finishing by 2026 – and start expanding its liquefaction capability in 2028.

It would add more than 140,000 cubic metres of LNG storage capacity for a total of 216,400 cubic metres. 

If liquefaction were expanded, the plant would produce 7,700 tonnes of LNG per day.

FortisBC spokesperson Scott Neufeld said the company assessed other sites, but landed on expanding Tilbury for several reasons: there is already an existing facility – which has run safely for 50 years – there’s room to expand, it’s already zoned industrial and it can provide backup energy for the Lower Mainland.

Richmond city council voted 8-1 to oppose the expansion in 2020 – only Coun. Alexa Loo supported the expansion.

Kelly Greene, currently the NDP MLA for Richmond-Steveston, was on council when the vote was taken. She is currently parliamentary secretary for environment.

Delta city council, on the other hand, hasn’t publicly opposed the project.

Neufeld said part of the environmental process will be to look at Richmond’s concerns and concerns brought up by the public.

Richmond News