Steelhead LNG has signed a deal with a local indigenous group to explore liquefied natural gas opportunities on Vancouver Island's Sarita Bay, namely a $30 billion land-based liquefaction terminal.
The Vancouver player said its agreement with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation coincided with its application with Canada's National Energy Board on Tuesday to export up to 30 million tonnes per annum of LNG for 25 years.
The collaboration between the company and group, introduced by the Alberni port authority, represents an "increased level of First Nations input and direction in an LNG project," Steelhead said.
"The project will be subject to several comprehensive regulatory, environmental and technical assessments and will only proceed after extensive consultation with Huu-ay-aht citizens, including a vote on a possible land lease to the project."
The facility would start with four 6 Mtpa trains with an option for an additional 6 Mtpa.
The site is a "significant distance" from upstream gas production but boasts "numerous" advantages including direct Pacific Ocean access, Steelhead LNG said.
"Steelhead LNG is currently working with pipeline companies to explore infrastructure options to deliver the gas from northern British Columbia to western Vancouver Island," the company added.
A rush of investors have joined a rush to export natural gas from the US and Canada with the advent of plentiful shale and tight reservoirs and low prices.
"LNG represents a unique opportunity for our citizens, our region and the province," said Jeff Cook, chief councillor for the Huu-ay-aht First Nations.
"This agreement will provide us with an opportunity to see how potential LNG projects might fit with the priorities and initiatives identified in our strategic plan.”