AltaGas opens Canada’s first propane export terminal

AltaGas is celebrating the grand opening of its Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal (RIPET), located in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, as the first marine export facility for propane in Canada. The facility, which is expected to ship approximately 1.2 million tonnes of propane annually to customers in Asia, departed its first shipment there on May 23.

Asia is the world’s largest importer of liquified petroleum gas (LPG), with as many as 24 million households using propane for heating and cooking in Japan alone. Propane is also an important feedstock for the petrochemical industry and fuels nearly 25 million vehicles worldwide.

In 2017, AltaGas entered a multi-year agreement with Astomos Energy Corporation, a Japanese propane importer and distributor, to purchase at least 50 percent of the propane shipped from RIPET annually. RIPET provides producers and customers with a significant locational advantage given comparatively short shipping distances to markets in Asia, notably a 10-day shipping time from Canada’s West Coast compared to 25 days from the United States’ Gulf Coast.

RIPET is owned by a joint venture between AltaGas, as to a 70 percent interest, and a Canadian subsidiary of Royal Vopak, as to a 30 percent interest. Royal Vopak is one of the world’s leading independent tank storage companies, with significant experience in marine terminals worldwide; AltaGas has the right to 100 percent of the capacity of RIPET.

AltaGas’ President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Crawford said, “The completion of this game-changing project and the shipment of our first cargo are historic milestones for AltaGas, as well as for our project partners, customers, local Indigenous Peoples, surrounding communities, and western Canada’s upstream energy sector. With RIPET now operational, we can offer producers a uniquely complete solution for their propane, providing premium netbacks and market optionality, while also positioning AltaGas to profitably grow our Midstream footprint – a true win-win for AltaGas and our customers.

Throughout the design and construction of RIPET, AltaGas worked closely with local Indigenous Peoples, communities, and all levels of government to develop opportunities for economic and social development, skills training, and emergency response preparedness. The project provided more than 200 jobs during the construction phase and will provide up to 40 additional permanent jobs for the local economy now that the facility is operational.

Mayor of Lax Kw’alaams John Helin said, “Good partnerships can only form when both parties get to know each other. AltaGas is a good community partner. They included us from the beginning, respected us, trusted us, and worked with us to understand what our community needs. Together, we developed a training program so our people could get good jobs and enjoy the benefits they provide.”

Chief Councillor of Metlakatla First Nation Harold Leighton said, “AltaGas approached the development of their Ridley Island project respectfully, by engaging us early and providing regular updates. They worked with us to accommodate our interests and to find mutually beneficial solutions for their project and our community.