LNG Quebec promoters claim US$20 billion for the cancellation of their projects

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Quebec LNG promoters are demanding US$20G for the cancellation of their projects

The map shows the location that was planned for the natural gas liquefaction terminal.

The promoters of GNL Québec and Gazoduq are filing a request for arbitration against the Government of Canada for blocking their natural gas liquefaction terminal and gas pipeline projects. The compensation sought is 20 billion US dollars.

Ruby River Capital LLC filed an arbitration claim against Canada on Thursday , before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank Group.

It invokes arguments relating to the American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

Ruby River Capital is the owned by the companies of both LNG Quebec promoters, renamed Symbio Infrastructure in March 2021. The companies are Freestone, a development company funded and led by Jim Illich, and Breyer Capital, founded in 2006 by Jim Illich, current Chairman of the Board of administration.

The projects once valued at $14 billion aimed to build a terminal in Saguenay to export liquefied natural gas imported by pipeline from Western Canada via existing pipelines as well as a 780-kilometre gas pipeline to be built that would have connected the north- eastern Ontario to the port of Saguenay. The liquefied natural gas would have been exported by boat on the Saguenay River.

The portion of the terminal, named Énergie Saguenay, was first refused by the Quebec government in July 2021, after a critical report by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) issued in March 2021. According to the BAPE, the project had more disadvantages than advantages.

The Government of Canada, through the Department of Environment and Climate Change, also refused the project liquefaction terminal in February 2022. The Minister, Steven Guilbeault, then based himself on the conclusions of the environmental assessment report of the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (AEIC).

< p class="e-p">The increase in polluting greenhouse gases, the project's impact on marine mammals, including the St. Lawrence beluga, and its effects on the cultural heritage of the Innu First Nations had been pointed out by the AEIC .

GNL Quebec offices were located in Saguenay.

The company, for its part, estimated that the project as a whole would have contributed to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by replacing energies considered more polluting such as coal. The liquefaction plant would have been powered by hydroelectricity, which would have reduced its environmental impact.

In June 2022, Symbio Infrastructure announced that it had reached an agreement with the Ukrainian state company Naftogaz to supply Ukraine, then already at war, with liquefied natural gas and hydrogen.

Last September, Jim Illich had discussions with Steven Guilbeault and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, on the sidelines of the visit to Canada of the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.< /p>

The federal environmental assessment process is still underway for the portion of the pipeline, but has become obsolete, in a sense, since without a terminal, the project no longer makes sense .

The news was first reported by the website Investment Arbitration Reporter (IAReporter), a publication specializing in this area. This publication believes that the prosecutor claims that the decision taken by Ottawa was first political, which would go against free trade agreements.

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