Excitement at Superport Days as major projects near milestones

By Allan Murphy    

DUNDEE – There was a new energy at Superport Days ‘16 in Dundee last week as projects that have been in the works for years are coming fast to decision points and Melford International Terminal presented details on an exciting new partnership.

The day began with a presentation by Allan Fogwill, President and CEO of the Canadian Energy Research Institute. An energy sector executive with over 25 years experience in the public and private sector, Fogwill spoke about the supply of oil and gas, LNG projects outside Atlantic Canada that are being developed and other factors that could affect the viability of LNG projects here. He noted that excess natural gas production in gas fields in the northeast of the United States has been a game changer in terms of supply.

Mark Brown from Goldboro LNG addressed the issue of supply and updated the audience on the timeline they are presently working on towards a final investment decision later in the year. Brown indicated that a final investment decision will be taken by Christmas.

Brown noted that Goldboro LNG has a contract with European interests, Uniper Global Commodities S.E. (formerly E.ON Global Commodities S.E.). In terms of supply Brown indicated that the excess supply of natural gas in Western Canada could very well be another source of gas supply. Goldboro LNG already has an export permit to export American-produced gas to its customers in Europe.

Darshi Jain of Bear Head LNG told the audience that his project is making progress every day with much of the permitting work already done. He felt that once the issue of supply is settled Bear Head will be well on its way.

Chris Ridgway of Vulcan Materials Company, developer of the Black Point Quarry project near Canso, highlighted the joint federal and provincial environmental approval received earlier this year. The job ahead includes complying with the conditions attached to the approval and to continue to do market analysis. Ridgway said that while environmental approval was critical to the advancement of the project there is still more work to be done before the Vulcan board makes a final decision. While the company has indicated that a decision to go forward was likely within two years, there are some observers who believe the timeframe is shorter that that.

Arguably the most anticipated presentation of the conference was by Mike Uberoi of Melford International Terminal.

Earlier in the week it was announced that SSA Marine has taken a development and investment interest in the Melford project. Uberoi noted the significant global reach the Melford project has with SSA Marine on board as an investor. Many observers of the industry have taken note of the new partnership which has given the Melford Project a significant boost.

Standing in for Energy Minister Michel Samson as featured dinner speaker was Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines. Hines spoke about the energy file but also reflected on the hard work done by many in the development of the projects, particularly the warden and council of MODG.

Hines’ successor as warden of MODG, Vernon Pitts, noted in his introduction that Hines played a critical leadership role in the development of the projects currently underway.

Hines’ speech capped a day of new hope, anticipation and certainty as many in the room know that by the time Superport Days ‘17 rolls around the futures of some of these projects will be decided -- along with much of this region’s economic development prospects for the coming years.