Safety and Transportation
The LNG industry has an excellent safety record due to stringent regulations and diligent training, an in-depth understanding of the physical and chemical properties of LNG, and constantly improving technologies. While recognizing this excellent track record, Woodfibre LNG will not make any compromises when it comes to the safety and security. The cornerstone of operations and standard of performance at Woodfibre LNG is based upon the safety of workers, communities and environment.
The technology we will select will be safe and reliable and in accordance to industry standards, regulatory requirements, project needs and local safety and environmental requirements.
The facility itself will have several elements of protection, including:
- Use of appropriate materials and compliance with industry and safety best practices
- Proper engineering design of all onshore and floating facilities
- Spill detection along with backup and emergency shutdown systems
- Established safe distances from the facility and carriers away from communities, ships and recreational users, as determined by Transport Canada’s Technical Review Process of Marine Terminal Systems and Transshipment Sites, known as TERMPOL, and the environmental assessment process
* While in liquid form, natural gas cannot burn or explode. This is because there is no oxygen or air in LNG, which is required for either of those reactions to occur. If LNG were to come in contact with warmer air, it would start to return to a gaseous state. Since natural gas (which is mostly methane) is less dense than air, it would evaporate into the atmosphere.
An incident response process would be in place for all aspects of the Woodfibre LNG facility and vessel shipping. These emergency response procedures are regulated under the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the provincial and federal environmental assessment processes and by individual provincial and federal regulators for protection and safety of the general public, employees and the environment.
From 1964 to the end of 2012, more than 70,000 loaded cargos of LNG shipped without major incident both at port and at sea. This means over 140,000 return journeys. (The International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers – 2012).
As a small-scale LNG project, Woodfibre LNG anticipates that there would be approximately 3-4 LNG carriers per month calling at the terminal, or about 40 carriers per year for this Project.
LNG carriers are double hulled ships specifically designed to handle liquefied natural gas at its -162ºC temperature. To protect against accidents, there is more than six feet of space between the inner and outer hulls and the cargo tanks. LNG carriers are also equipped with state of the art radar, leak detection and emergency shutdown technology, to ensure safety and security. LNG is shipped and stored at atmospheric pressure.
Carriers will be guided by at least three tugboats, to ensure they stay on course, and follow the rules of marine traffic including speed limits. The escort vessels also manage the area around the vessel to prevent conflicts with ferries and pleasure crafts. BC Coast Pilots will be on-board to ensure that appropriate communication, safe practices, traffic routing, and safety procedures are always followed.
Vessels from the Woodfibre LNG Project will pass through Howe Sound, through the existing shipping routes of Georgia Strait and Haro Strait, to the Pacific Ocean.
Woodfibre LNG Limited is also working with commercial and recreational users of Squamish Harbour to develop a plan that ensures the safe shared use of the harbour during the construction and operation of the Project.