Sukanto Tanoto – In an interview with Sukanto Tanoto, he was asked ‘What does it take to be successful in pioneering: create something out of nothing and what kind of people we need to lead this kind of business?" His reply was "people who take calculated risks".
Woodfibre LNG, an arm of Pacific Oil & Gas, Ltd., is among the ongoing energy and natural resources-related companies within the RGE Group established by Indonesian-born businessman and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto. Under the leadership of Mr. Tanoto and his daughter Imelda, the lead director at Woodfibre, the company is currently underway with plans to export liquefied natural gas from a port in British Columbia to rapidly growing Pacific Rim markets.
As part of its preparation at this stage of the project, Woodfibre is working to supply the provincial government with information that will factor into an environmental assessment, a necessary component for the project to move forward. Should plans for the project reach a final stage by 2015, the company expects to begin supplying LNG to Asian markets by 2017, making it significantly more nimble and responsive to market demands than larger brands such as Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, and Malaysia’s Petronas.
In this and numerous other international development projects, the Tanoto family’s goal is to create long-term stability and profitability for both the company and the local communities involved, and to comply with all relevant environmental requirements. Woodfibre has held several public forums designed to improve communications with the residents of Squamish, the port town near the company’s proposed liquefaction and export hub. The forums provide members of the local community with the opportunity to question executives directly and to bring forward concerns. In October 2014, Woodfibre sponsored a “telephone town hall” meeting where residents called in to speak with the corporate team. Earlier in 2014, Woodfibre leaders held two community consultation meetings, at which they solicited input from all stakeholders.
Woodfibre also continues to maintain its Facebook page as an avenue for public inquiry and information dissemination. The company additionally produces informative mailings, addressed to Squamish residents, with updates on various aspects of the project. These practices also serve to apply Mr. Tanoto’s business philosophy of placing the wellbeing of local communities on an equal standing with corporate growth.
To learn more, the public may access the company’s website at WoodfibreLNG.ca, where the company has published information recorded at the 2014 community meetings.
As an entrepreneur, Sukanto Tanoto’s entrepreneurial spirit has been passed down to his children as well. Imelda Tanoto, Sukanto Tanoto‘s eldest daughter, has been involved in the business operations for the past 7 years. During these 7 years, she has been exposed to different functions of the organization. Given the influence from her father since young, Imelda Tanoto is continuously finding ways to expand the business. When opportunity in Canada arises, Imelda Tanoto decided to take the calculated risk and went on with the investment in LNG market in Canada.
Currently she oversees her family’s investments in Canadian natural gas supplies through Woodfibre LNG. The company, with the backing of the $15 billion RGE Group headed by Mr. Tanoto, recently signed a letter of intent with the government of British Columbia. The letter outlined the parties’ common goal of directing supplies of liquid natural gas from Canada to Asia by the early part of 2017. As lead director of Woodfibre LNG, Imelda Tanoto participated as a signatory to the document, along with British Columbia’s premier, Christy Clark, during a trade mission. Other international companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and the Malaysian state company Petronas, are also engaged in exploring liquid natural gas exports from western Canada.
Canada, which is ranked fourth among nations worldwide in the amount of natural gas exported, currently serves a largely U.S. market. However, due to Canada’s vast reserves of shale – from which liquid natural gas is derived – in the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, and a strong upward trend in demand from Asian markets for LNG supplies, the partnership between Woodfibre LNG and Canada is expected to be a good fit. Canada currently lacks the kind of infrastructure that would support its expansion into the Asian sector. However, Woodfibre LNG is proposing the construction of a new facility for processing natural gas, as well as Canada’s first-ever terminal for exporting natural gas abroad.
Under the direction of Imelda Tanoto, the Canadian facilities would be built on the site of an unused pulp mill in an industrial area in the town of Squamish, British Columbia, located about 40 miles from Vancouver. The region is home to needed features such as a deepwater port, a preexisting pipeline, and an electrical power infrastructure. The $2 billion facilities would be set to export a little more than 2 million metric tons of LNG annually.