Bécancour, August 24, 2015 – Québec Premier Philippe Couillard, accompanied by Laurent Lessard (Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks), Pierre Arcand (Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Minister Responsible for the Plan Nord and Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region), Jean D’Amour (Minister for Transport and the Implementation of the Maritime Strategy), David Heurtel (Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change) and Jean-Guy Dubois (Mayor of Bécancour), announced that the Québec Government has given the green light to the Stolt LNGaz proposal to construct and operate a natural gas liquefaction plant in the Bécancour Waterfront Industrial Park.
The CEO of Stolt-Nielsen Ltd., Niels Stolt-Nielsen, has announced an investment of nearly $800 million to construct and operate the plant. He has also announced the signature of partnership agreements for transportation of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) with Somavrac, a road transportation company from Trois-Rivières, and Groupe Desgagnés for maritime transportation. Construction work on the plant is expected to create nearly 200 direct jobs. Once When brought into operation, the plant will generate more than 100 direct and indirect jobs.
“Over the last year, Québec has gained a new momentum and is developing its economic potential. Our Government continues to work hard every day to create a stable, predictable business environment conducive to job creation. Today’s announcement is an excellent example of a strategic private investment which takes advantage of the Plan Nord and of Québec’s first-ever Maritime Strategy. Here is a company that has come to Québec because it has recognized these opportunities. The outcome will be hundreds of direct jobs, as well as major partnerships with Québec companies that will generate significant spin-offs in many regions across Québec. This is the type of prosperity that confidence and stability can generate”, said the Premier.
“I am delighted by this substantial investment, which will not only create quality jobs, but will also promote and help diversify the regional economy,” said Minister Lessard. “The Bécancour Waterside Industrial Park is an ideal site for the proposed new natural gas liquefaction plant, since it is already served by a natural gas network and offers quick, easy access to the St. Lawrence River. This is great news for the people of Bécancour, and for everyone in the Centre-du-Québec region.”
“We have been hoping for and awaiting the announcement that Stolt LNGaz would be coming to our region,” said Mayor Jean-Guy Dubois. “It confirms the fact that the Bécancour Industrial Park is attractive to world-class companies. We are proud and happy to welcome Stolt, which will play a significant role in our community’s economic dynamism, and we thank everyone involved in the different phases of the project.”
The Government, when unveiling its Plan Nord: 2015-2020 Action Plan, undertook to ensure the availability of natural gas supplies at competitive prices in order to improve mine profitability, reduce GHG emissions from mining activities, attract new investments and supply the North with natural gas.
“In the context of the Plan Nord, access to competitively-priced energy can become a powerful lever for economic development,” said Minister Arcand. “Liquefied natural gas is an interesting option, not only to meet the current demand but also to attract new investments, especially in the mining sector, since it can be transported by truck or ship.”
Referring to the partnership agreement signed by Stolt LNGaz and Groupe Desgagnés for maritime transportation of the LNG, Jean D’Amour reiterated the importance of the maritime industry for economic development in Québec. “This announcement is entirely consistent with our vision of deployment for Québec’s Maritime Strategy, in which LNG plays a major role,” he said. “In addition to the 100 jobs created by Groupe Desgagnés, the announcement highlights the major contribution of Québec’s port infrastructures to the province’s maritime and international trade. ”
The Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques has produced an environmental analysis report showing that the new plant is acceptable from an environmental standpoint thanks to the company’s proposed mitigation measures and undertakings concerning reduction of air emissions, compliance with noise level requirements and compensation for wetland loss.
In addition, the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE), in its report on the proposed new plant, states that it considers the project to be acceptable. It also notes that companies using natural gas from the new plant instead of fuel oil and diesel could significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The availability of natural gas could also help reduce their costs.
“This project will help reduce Québec’s GHG emissions, not only by allowing for the replacement of more pollutant fuels, but also by improving access to natural gas for companies not served by the gas network,” said David Heurtel, Minister of Sustainable development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change. “Together, we can revitalize our economy and develop Québec in a responsible way, with due regard for our goal of fighting climate change, to provide a good quality of life for our children.”