LNG projects in Canada

Connecting with the ‘People of the Snow’

It’s cold and it snows a lot in remote parts of Northwest Canada. But underneath the pristine white landscape lies a wealth of natural treasure. How can a balance be found between the needs of the local people and the rapid pace of industrial development in the area?

When it comes to working in remote parts of the world, it’s not quite the same as a day in the office. You have to get to know the territory and form a connection with the land and its people.

Kitimat, on the North Coast of Canada’s British Columbia, is a small municipality surrounded by wilderness, mountains and dense forests. It is also the home of the Kitsumkalum, Gitxaala and Haisla (‘People of the Snow’ in their own language), who have occupied these lands for over 9,000 years.

Forging a connection with the First Nation people and building a partnership with them is a substantial factor in the sustainable and equitable exploitation of the area’s natural gas deposits.

There’s cold, then there’s LNG cold

Canada may be known for its cold weather, but when it comes to liquified natural gas (LNG), the numbers are on a completely different level: -163 degrees centigrade. That’s the temperature natural gas must be cooled down in order to become liquid.

Adjusting to even slightly sub-zero outdoor temperatures was a challenge for Rafael Machado, Chief Executive Officer at KAEFER in Canada, as he originally hails from a much warmer part of the world: Brazil. Yet that has proven to be beneficial in terms of his interaction with the local indigenous community. “I’ve learned a lot about respect for the land from the First Nations communities,” Machado explains “we have similar rituals in Brazil and the fact that I am an outsider in this remote part of Canada also allows me to have a different kind of connection with the First Nation people as they perceive me as a kindred spirit.”

KAEFER Canada’s indigenous policy stipulates that the company needs to understand First Nations culture and work towards mitigating the impact of projects on their communities. Furthermore, KAEFER endeavours to employ a certain percentage of First Nations workers and contribute to the local community by helping to build schools and hospitals and providing healthcare.

“We need to respect this land as much as we respect the people who have called it their home for generations.”

Rafael Machado, CEO KAEFER in Canada

Forging new paths for Canadian LNG

The community is set to grow substantially in the future, as Kitimat is the centre of Canada’s new LNG boom. Billions of dollars are being invested into a new terminal for the liquefaction, storage and loading of LNG, which will be exported around the world. With its experience and expertise in cryogenic insulation, as well as its modular pre-insulation system, KAEFER is well positioned to play a key part in this new and exciting project.

“Our system is proven technology and ideal for LNG Canada.”

Ian Carter

“We’ve developed a system where we perform pre-insulation at our facilities in China. These so-called ‘modules’ are completely pre-fabricated and can be the size of a small power station – up to 10,000 tonnes. We then load them onto ships and transport them to an application destination where they are then interconnected and ready to go,” explains Ian Carter from the LNG Solutions Centre in Perth, Western Australia.

“Our system is proven technology and we know that it works on the basis of our experience here in Australia and other locations, such as Papua New Guinea, for example. This specialist system is ideal for LNG Canada as well.”

Rafael Machado agrees, “one of the unique challenges in the Canadian LNG market is logistics, since the natural gas is often found in remote, difficult to reach areas, like in the Montney Formation, which is one of the largest known gas resources in the world. Liquefaction and processing at Kitimat for further transport by sea is a major step towards establishing an export market for Canadian gas. Our technology can help make this possible and more efficient.”

Striking the right balance

LNG is a rapidly expanding industry in North America, not least as a result of its lower environmental impact when compared with other fossil fuels. This will become increasingly important in future exploration and exploitation, as well as the necessity to balance large-scale industrial projects with the needs of local communities and indigenous peoples.

“This land has so much to give and we need to respect it as much as we respect the people who have called it their home for generations,” Machado says. “But the path is clear and beneficial for all if we take opportunities together and go into the future with optimism.”

This film, by LNG Canada, is giving an overview of the project plans