SAINT JOHN, N.B. – A manager at the Canaport liquefied natural gas facility in Saint John says there’s little it can do in the next few weeks to prevent more migrating birds from flying into a flare that’s burning at the plant.
Fraser Forsythe said Thursday the latest estimate is that about 7,500 migrating birds died while the company was burning off excess gas at the facility on Friday and Saturday.
The plant is in the middle of making changes to equipment at the facility to reduce the amount of flaring, Forsythe said, but completion of the project is still several weeks away.
In the meantime, he said the plant cannot compromise safety to prevent birds from being killed again.
“We find ourselves in a dilemma here. The flare system is a safety-release system to ensure we can maintain normal operating pressures in the plant,” he said in a telephone interview.
As the liquefied natural gas boils off, some of it has to be released or it poses a safety risk to the facility, added Forsythe.
“At the moment there’s not a whole lot I can do to resolve it in the short term.”
He said a project to install a high-pressure compressor for the gas has been underway since 2011.
“As we commissioned it we have been flaring,” he said. “Unfortunately for us we’re just a few weeks away from getting that compressor up and operating.”
Forsythe said the plant was originally designed to move large amounts of gas on a continuing basis, but the markets have changed and more of the gas is stored now and shipped during peak demand times.