Spanish energy firm Repsol has secured a license extension to export LNG from its existing Saint John LNG import terminal in Canada. However, the firm has not yet made a decision to add liquefaction units to the facility.
The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) granted Saint John LNG Development, a unit of Repsol, a six-year extension from May 20, 2026 to May 20, 2032 to start exporting LNG from the terminal, according to a filling.
Also, the approval rejected opposition from Heritage Gas, now Eastward Energy, claiming that the approval has the potential to impact natural gas supply and demand within the Maritimes region, which in turn impacts Eastward Energy’s operations.
“The Commission finds that Saint John LNG has provided sufficient evidence to show that Canadian natural gas requirements will be met over the term of the extension from 2051 to 2057,” CER said.
2 million tonnes per year
Saint John LNG, a unit of Saint John LNG Development, previously received a 10-year export license in 2015 giving it until May 20, 2026 to begin LNG exports. It filed for an extension in September last year.
The company said in the filling it is still accessing the feasibility of expanding its existing LNG facility, located in Saint John, New Brunswick, to add liquefaction capability.
Saint John LNG estimates that it would take at least three years to build the interconnecting pipelines that would deliver natural gas to the LNG export facilities.
The firm said it would use this time period to obtain required approvals and expand its existing LNG facility.
Previously, Saint John LNG was examining the expansion of its existing LNG facility with a liquefaction capability of 5 million tonnes per annum.
However, primarily due to the economics associated with obtaining transportation service on the interconnecting pipelines, the firm is now proposing an expansion to its LNG facility by adding liquefaction capability of 2 Mtpa, it said.
This facility would require a volume of natural gas of approximately 300 million standard cubic feet per day.
This is less than 40 percent of the volumes covered by the previous LNG export license, when examined on an annual or term basis, the firm said.
“While the liquefaction capability of the expanded LNG facility could be further expanded in the future, any such additional expansion is entirely dependent on the future availability of existing pipeline capacity, as further expansion of the interconnecting pipelines is cost prohibitive,” Saint John LNG said.
LNG supplies to Europe
Repsol is the sole owner of Saint John LNG, previously known as Canaport LNG, after it purchased Irving Oil’s stake in the plant in 2021.
The firm had previously planned to convert the facility to export LNG but the plan did not proceed due to a lack of interest from offtakers and investors.
However, things have changed last year as European countries look to fast-track LNG imports in order to boost energy security and replace Russian pipeline gas.
Repsol’s CEO Josu Jon Imaz confirmed during the company’s second-quarter earnings call last year saying that the firm had met with authorities, and “there is an interest about Canaport in some European countries, Germany, even Canada as a provider, a potential provider of gas towards Europe.”