Woodfibre LNG Steps Towards Construction with First Steel Cut

While the official start of construction for the Woodfibre LNG facility isn’t slated until September 2023, one of the first true construction milestones for the project was achieved with the first steel cut for the specialized liquefied natural gas (LNG) modules in Qingdao City, China. The event took place at a ceremony at the Qingdao McDermott Wuchuan (QMW) steelyards on 31 July 2023.  The Woodfibre LNG project is being built near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.

RGE Chairman Sukanto Tanoto speaks at the Qingdao McDermott Wuchuan ‘steel cut’ ceremony

Nineteen specialized LNG modules will be produced at the QMW steelyards over the next two years. Modules are prefabricated steel structures that include all piping, equipment and instrumentation required to produce LNG. Many of the modules being constructed for Woodfibre LNG are of startling size and scope, with the largest (the liquefaction module) weighing close to 11,000 tonnes and having a physical footprint roughly the size of an American football field. Almost eight kilometres of associated piping will be included within the modules, along with 495 kilometres of installed cables – roughly the length of 108,000 automobiles placed end to end.

Modular construction holds many advantages, providing quicker construction, more predictable costs and scheduling and great construction efficiency. Construction of modules will be completed, level by level, within all-weather/all-season fabrication facilities. This allows better control of the working environment, minimizing weather impacted days and providing improved certainty for construction schedules. When the levels, also known as deck panels, are transferred outdoors to be assembled, most of the major welding has been completed, allowing simple and efficient assembly.

The first modules will be ready to set sail to the Woodfibre LNG site in August 2024 and will be followed by six more shipments over the following year. Between 35,000 to 40,000 tonnes of specialized modules will make their way across the ocean, from China to Canada, as the world’s first net-zero LNG facility steadily transforms from vision into reality.

When completed, Woodfibre LNG will produce 2.1 million tonnes of LNG per year to help replace higher carbon energy sources, like coal, on the global market. Virtually all of the facility’s annual production has already been purchased by global energy giant, BP – reinforcing how strongly the world’s energy sector believes in the ability of LNG to reliably and sustainably contribute to a lower-carbon energy future. Woodfibre LNG is set to be the world’s first net-zero LNG facility, combining British Columbia’s renewable hydropower with sector-leading technology like electric compressors to set a new global benchmark for lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the LNG industry.  As of November 2022, Calgary-based Enbridge owns a 30% ownership stake in the Woodfibre LNG project while Singapore-based Pacific Energy retains the remaining 70% stake in the project.