The Terrace Standard wrote a story about the deal with Shell on the Fuel for Reconciliation project:
"One of the world’s largest energy companies is investing in the ongoing effort to determine if there’s a commercially-feasible geothermal energy development using hot underground waters at Lakelse Lake south of Terrace.
Shell’s money with Kitselas Geothermal Inc., a partnership of the Kitselas First Nation’s Kitselas Development Corporation and Calgary-based Borealis GeoPower, will further determine the viability of drilling wells to a reservoir of hot water so that it can then be pumped up to be a source of heat or as steam to turn turbines to create electricity.
Kitselas Geothermal has been active in the Lakelse Lake area for nearly 10 years, exploring the long-talked about possibility that the geological properties of the area that produced the hot water which once filled the pools at the Mount Layton Hotsprings development could also replace fossil fuels as a local energy source.
In a typical geothermal project, water pumped up for conversion into a heat or energy source is then pumped back down for re-heating.
Company president Alison Thompson said the joint development agreement with Shell will “de-risk” the project to determine the potential for more investment.
“The drilling to be done … with Shell’s funding assistance is to intersect the M’Deek Reservoir with production sized wells. If the well tests look good, the wells could be used to produce geothermal energy,” she said. “The wells drilled previously were not intended to be used for production.”
Current plans call for the drilling program to start within the next year.
“We are nearing completion of the field work and data analysis necessary to site the wells in the drilling program,” said Thompson.
Shell official Stephen Doolan said the Kitselas Geothermal investment is a first of its kind for the company.
“We are exploring a number of lower-carbon business opportunities in Canada and geothermal is one of many,” he said.
“The joint development agreement funding will advance activities to understand the potential for geothermal in the region.”
Thompson would not disclose the location of the M’Deek Reservoir other than to say it was south of Terrace.
Previously-released information indicates there was drilling on the west side of Lakelse Lake, across the water from Mount Layton Hotsprings and that licences had been obtained for drilling within an area of approximately 2,800 hectares on traditional Kitselas territory extending from south of Lakelse Lake and up the east side of Hwy37 South.
Kitselas Geothermal earlier this year was also the recipient of $500,000 from the provincial government’s First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, the maximum amount that the program can provide.
That’s enabling the company to do necessary fieldwork.
At the time the grant was announced, Thompson said it would also serve to attract further financing.
At one time, a potential small liquefied natural gas project at the Skeena Industrial Development Park south of the Northwest Regional Airport had been tagged as a prospective customer for Kitselas Geothermal. But that project has since been shelved.
The latest potential customer is Skeena Bioenergy, the pellet plant right next door to Skeena Sawmills.
It sees value in an eventual pipeline from a geothermal hub to its plant so that heat from the water would replace natural gas in drying fibre before being turned into pellets and so reduce its carbon emissions.
Shell is best known in the region as the majority owner of the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export plant now under construction at Kitimat.
And this would not be the first time a major energy company has expressed an interest and put money into geothermal energy at Lakelse Lake.
In 2014 Enbridge struck a deal with the Kitselas First Nation and Borealis Geothermal to form a company as a foundation to explore the area. A $100,000 payment was then made to the province to secure sub-surface rights.
At that time, Enbridge was embroiled in a battle with First Nations, environmental and other groups opposing the company’s effort to build oil-carrying pipeline from Alberta called Northern Gateway to a planned export terminal at Kitimat. That plan has since been cancelled.
Records indicate the company formed by Enbridge, the Kitselas and Borealis Geothermal was dissolved in 2019."
Read the article on the Terrace Standard site.
Shell Canada Energy and Kitselas Geothermal Inc. have Entered into a Joint Development Agreement to Develop the M’deek Geothermal Reservoir Near Terrace, BC
Kitselas Geothermal Inc. (Kitselas Geothermal), a majority owned Indigenous company between Kitselas Development and Borealis Geothermal (Borealis), is pleased to announce that a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Shell Canada Energy (Shell Canada) takes effect on July 29, 2022. The JDA supports de-risking and appraisal of the geothermal resource in the Terrace, British Columbia area, after which each party will take a decision on further development. Through entering into this agreement, Kitselas Geothermal and Shell Canada hope to build greater understanding of the potential for geothermal energy and support development of renewable green energy in Northwest BC, including ‘direct-use’ of the heat.
Kitselas Geothermal’s vision is to supply renewable, industrial heating alternatives in the Terrace area. Economic self-determination for Kitselas First Nation via long-term heat purchase agreements is a goal of the project.
Kitselas Geothermal’s chair, Dr. David Try, PhD, says, “First Nations, for thousands of years, made use of ‘direct’ geothermal energy in this region. Exploring the potential for commercial energy - clean, sustainable, responsible, and reliable is a natural step.”
Kitselas Geothermal’s CEO, Alison Thompson, says, “The opportunity to continue this project, to test, derisk and progress the geothermal heat potential in the Terrace region under this JDA is a key milestone. We are proud of the significant sub-surface, regulatory and stakeholder relations contributions that Borealis has made as the project’s development and exploration technology partner in Western and Northern Canada’s unique geologic setting. Today marks the point in the project where Kitselas Geothermal and Shell Canada will begin to work and learn together in this project.”
Shell Canada’s Geothermal Business Opportunity Manager, Sarah Kassam, says, “Globally, Shell is investing in renewable energy as part of our Powering Progress strategy, which includes a target to become a net-zero energy business by 2050. Through signing the JDA with Kitselas Geothermal, Shell Canada hopes to build a greater understanding of the potential for geothermal energy and to support renewable energy development with Kitselas Geothermal in the Terrace, BC region.”
About Kitselas Geothermal: Kitselas Geothermal is controlled by Kitselas Development Corporation, the economic arm of the Kitselas First Nation. Kitselas First Nation, through Kitselas Geothermal, is proudly positioned to provide near-term clean energy solutions into the Terrace region. Borealis Geothermal is their technology partner and minority shareholder: www.kitselasgeo.ca
About Borealis Geothermal: Borealis is Canada’s leading expert in fault-controlled geothermal energy and provides development support to projects in this and other geologic settings in Canada: www.borealisgeothermal.ca
About Shell Canada: Shell Canada is an integrated energy company in Canada with all of Shell’s global businesses represented, including Upstream, Integrated Gas, Downstream, and Renewables and Energy Solutions. That means we do everything from exploration, gas production, refining and manufacturing, to providing fuels and developing low-carbon energy solutions for our customers: www.shell.ca