LNG is not a fantasy

B.C. will now propose even more financial and technical hurdles for LNG

Dear Editor,

For more than a decade, I worked on reviewing proposed projects in traditional industries, like forestry and tourism – then along came LNG.

Even back then, it was clear to me that this was no fantasy. Throughout the past five years, I’ve continued to advocate for this opportunity to transform British Columbia’s economy – even when some politicians referred to LNG as a waste of time or a fairy tale.

Attitudes like these make it difficult for me to believe that the cancellation of the Pacific Northwest LNG project – nearly immediately after the installation of a government that expresses these negative attitudes – was based solely on market conditions.

According to both government experts and LNG proponents, the next window of opportunity for the LNG market will start to open in 2020. Proponents didn’t stop their plans when B.C. missed the first window of opportunity for LNG – they simply adjusted to meet the 2020 timeline.

And contrary to LNG opponents’ opinions, LNG has already helped B.C.’s economy – especially in Skeena.

When companies invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a region, that money inarguably affects the local economy.

The reverse is also true – when companies stop making investments, people and businesses notice. Market conditions aside, Asia’s need for a cleaner energy source still exists.

This year alone, China’s LNG imports increased by 38 per cent – up from a 22 per cent increase last year.

Additionally, China plans to continue growing their imports so that LNG accounts for 10 per cent of their energy use by 2020.

The United States alone exported 400,000 tonnes of LNG to China this year at market prices, thanks to China reducing barriers to U.S. product. The demand for LNG will only increase as Asia looks to continue fueling their growing society while reducing harmful pollution.

B.C. is rich in LNG, but without a west coast export terminal, British Columbians will miss out on potential benefits from this resource.

While we can export LNG to Asia via the United States, this option doesn’t come with nearly the same prosperity that British Columbians would experience through our own facility.

While other countries are becoming more competitive in the LNG market, B.C. will now propose even more financial and technical hurdles for LNG companies – including some that have already received environmental certificates and permits.

For 13 years, I’ve advocated for B.C. LNG. I plan to continue advocating so that we don’t miss the boat on this generational opportunity this time around.

Ellis Ross

MLA – Skeena