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New study warns against LNG development in B.C.

LNG Industry,

A new study has warned against the consequences of ramping up LNG production in British Columbia (B.C.), citing environmental and climate impacts, as well as risks to Canada’s energy security.

The report, authored by David Hughes and released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, raises concerns about energy security, environmental implications and economic potential, if LNG developments continue at the scale envisaged by the B.C. government.

Six scenarios

Hughes’ study considers six possible scenarios for B.C. LNG export development: from zero export terminals built to the five that the provincial government is promising.

He explained: “If B.C. goes ahead with five terminals, it would require four to five times the current B.C. gas production levels. This means drilling up to 43 000 new fracked wells in the northeast by 2040, and using up to 22 000 Olympic swimming pools of water per year in the fracking process. We’re talking about serious environmental impacts.

“Even scenarios that the B.C. government would consider less than ideal, like three terminals, would require 3.5 times more gas than current proven gas reserves, and 32 000 more wells.”

Gas available?

The report also notes that the B.C. government appears to be misrepresenting the amount of gas available for export. According to the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC), there are approximately 42.3 trillion ft3 of proven raw gas reserves, with another potential 416 trillion ft3 of remaining marketable resources. However, the B.C. government recently claimed that the Province has a natural gas supply of 2933 trillion ft3 to support domestic and export markets, six times the estimate from the OGC.

Canada’s energy security

Hughes also raises concerns about Canada’s future energy security, and the National Energy Board’s (NEB) apparent failure to ensure domestic energy needs can be met. He points out that the NEB has approved 12 LNG export terminals with a total of 251 trillion ft3 of LNG export capacity over a 20 - 25 year life, with a further seven under review. Although few expect more than five terminals to be built, in theory these approvals mean that they could be. This would require ten times the surplus gas that the NEB has shown to be available.

“So not only is the NEB approving exports of gas that its latest production forecasts show is unavailable, but, if corporations do somehow export this much gas, Canada will have to turn around and import natural gas just to meet our own needs. If the NEB forecasts are to be believed, anything more than one terminal will see Canada become a net importer of natural gas,” Hughes explained.

The report, A Clear Look at LNG: Energy security, environmental implications and economic potential, is available at

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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