Pieridae Energy Looks East After Cancelling Western Pipeline Plan

Pieridae Energy Limited is looking once more at sourcing gas in the Maritimes after cancelling plans to supply its proposed 10 million tonnes-per-year LNG export terminal at Goldboro with western Canadian natural gas, says the company’s CEO Alfred Sorensen.

“It’s a change back to where we started, I suppose, is a better way of putting it … because there is no political or practical support from [TC Energy Corporation] or the federal government to resolve the pipeline issues,” Sorensen said.

“We had already begun to scale the project back just because the larger pipeline expansion was obviously not going to be in the works. And given how expensive it was becoming, it was going to be prohibitive to move gas across the country.”

He added that the original project eight years ago was meant to use eastern Canadian natural gas sources.

Sorensen said they revisited the option following an approach by the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick provincial governments. He said Pieridae is waiting for the provinces to look at what they’re going to do with their ban on multi-stage fracking.

“There is some real interest to restart the natural gas side of the resource development, the original supply source for the project,” Sorensen said.

"It’s obviously much closer [to Goldboro]. You don’t have to go through the whole process of building a pipeline, but upgrading the pipeline because there’s substantial capacity on Maritimes & Northeast [Pipeline] right now.

“We have just updated our construction costs and in today’s environment it’s certainly very economic, but you’ve still got to get the gas from A to B.”

Overcoming missed opportunities

Pieridae missed the window of opportunity of the last three years after the COVID-19 pandemic changed the value of energy, Sorensen said. There had been no new production coming on, which increased the price of international gas, and with the invasion of Ukraine, it had intensified.

“With a long-term price in around $14 or $15, which is where European and Asian prices sit today, we can build a fairly economic project, but we had to have some degree of pipeline certainty,” Sorensen said.

“And you’ve only had to see what’s happened both with Coastal GasLink and with TMX, how the cost structure has gone out of control, and certainly the project could not afford to pay for that, so that’s really the fundamental issue.”

Significant potential of Moncton Subbasin

Sorensen said Pieridae shares control of a “very significant land base” concentrated east of Moncton in the Moncton Subbasin

“It’s potentially a very prolific natural gas reservoir with well over three to five tcf of gas in place, which sounds like a lot of gas, and recoverable it is probably quite a bit less than that. But it would still be in the range of about 200 to 250 million [cubic feet] a day,” he said.

Pieridae is looking at recent technological innovations in fracking to see how to minimize potential environmental impact.

“That’s what we're trying to figure out right now,” Sorensen said.

“Some of the biggest issues, when you talk about fracking, is obviously use of water and being able to minimize that, and looking at more pad-type drilling rigs so that you disturb a smaller footprint than you would've in the past.”

With that in mind, the company would also like to see any needed construction process lowered from five to six years to around three years.

If everything comes together, Sorensen says the company could be exporting LNG from Goldboro as early as late 2027 or early 2028, “if we can get started this year.”

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