CCPA report knocks down job expectations for LNG industry

Government claims of 100,000 jobs tied to LNG is over-inflated, says a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The provincial government has been touting 100,000 jobs connected to the LNG industry in B.C., but a new report is telling the public to dial their expectations down.

“We find that this claim is not credible and that potential employment impacts have been grossly overstated,” the report, authored by Marc Lee from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, states in its opening paragraph.

The report continues that they see 2,000 to 3,000 construction jobs provided per plant over three years in the province, and 200 to 300 permanent workers.

Drawing on the experiences of Australia, the report says that in 2014 there were 13,000 construction workers building three LNG facilities there.

The report also goes on to suggest that the third-party jobs analysis commissioned by the province was only done to provide the appearance of independence, given that the consultancy Grant Thornton used numbers and models provided by the province.

Under that report’s assumption of five operating LNG plants in B.C., it says the industry will employ 2,400 people in operations, which the report says that number, too, is an overstatement.

“Based on real-world experience from Australia or Maine,” there may be closer to 1,700 jobs, it says.

For Kitimat’s own projects, Kitimat LNG, the Chevron-led project, they anticipate 4,500 total people for construction, which includes 1,500 working on the Pacific Trails Pipeline.

Shell-led LNG Canada expects, at the highest end, 7,500 jobs, including contractors, in construction.

LNG Canada say there will be 300 to 400 jobs during the first phase of their operations as well, and up to 800 employed at a full build out of four trains.

Chevron said they don’t have an estimate for the operational job figures as it depends on design work currently underway.

They also say there will be jobs created in the upstream portions of the project but Chevron only recently took on operation of the upstream natural gas assets and don’t have a figure on that either.

The smaller Douglas Channel LNG project projects up to 70 people for operations, and at most 125 people for construction.

In all that puts Kitimat’s contribution of construction job estimates, at its highest estimate, at 12,125 people.

The President of the BC LNG Alliance says the CCPA report has flaws.

“The narrow focus of the report ignores the province wide benefits of LNG.  From suppliers to contractors to professional services, the LNG industry will create thousands of new permanent jobs to support the industry long after the construction phase,” said David Keane. “When operational, the plants will provide new revenues to all levels of government that may well run into billions of dollars every year.”