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Vopak and AltaGas combine to evaluate new bulk liquids terminal at Prince Rupert port

New facility would be built adjacent to AltaGas’s existing propane export facility on Ridley Island
View of the existing AltaGas propane export terminal on Ridley Island from the water. A new bulk liquids export facility is proposed to go up adjacent to this one following an announcement April 26 of a joint venture between AltaGas and Vopak. (Thom Barker/Black Press Media)

Two major players in the bulk liquids industry are teaming up to consider expanding the Prince Rupert port’s export capacity for propane, methanol and other liquids.

Vopak and AltaGas announced on April 26 a 50/50 joint venture for a large-scale Ridley Island LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and other bulk liquids export terminal.

The terminal under consideration would take advantage of Ridley Island’s existing federal and provincial permits to construct new large storage tanks, a new dedicated jetty, and rail and other ancillary infrastructure on a 190-acre (77 hectare) parcel adjacent to AltaGas’s existing Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal.

The joint venture has already secured a long-term lease for the land and will now continue to evaluate the viability of the project with the goal of making a decision by the end of the year.

If they move forward, the terminal would be built in phases based on a number of factors, a press release stated. AltaGas has secured all of the export capacity for phase 1.

While no final decision has been made, there are distinct advantages to the Prince Rupert location, noted Randy Crawford, president and CEO of AltaGas.

“Canada has a structural advantage in delivering LPGs into Asia from its world-class resources and through the shortest shipping time and lowest maritime emissions footprint,” he said. “AltaGas delivers more than 12 per cent of Japan’s propane and 12 per cent of South Korea’s LPG imports through connecting our valued upstream customers with key downstream markets in Asia. [Ridley] fits our corporate strategy of operating long-life infrastructure assets that connect customers and markets and provide resilient and durable value for our stakeholders.”

They also have allies among local First Nations.

“We commend Vopak and AltaGas on their efforts to-date on building long-term relationships with our community,” said Chief Harold Leighton, Metlakatla First Nation. “We are excited with the potential this joint venture project provides to our area and the Metlakatla First Nation.”

This is one of many possible expansions the port may see in the future, Ken Veldman, Prince Rupert Port Authority vice-president of public affairs and sustainability told Brenda Bailey, B.C.’s minister of jobs during a boat tour of the harbour last week.

Bailey was impressed by what she saw.

“This port is a very, very impressive facility and opportunities seem pretty much endless here,” she told Black Press Media following the tour.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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