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Northern Ontario communities welcome government commitment to expanding access to natural gas

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LNG Industry,

Northern Ontario communities have applauded the Liberal government’s decision to include the natural gas access loan program in its 2016 budget. Whilst gas is available to most urban residents in Ontario, Canada, less than 20% of rural and northern residents and business have access to it.

Jody Davis, the Mayor of Terrace Bay, Ontario, said: “The average residential customer is expected to save CAN$1000 to CAN$3000 annually, which is particularly helpful in a region where incomes fall significantly lower than elsewhere in Ontario.

"Furthermore, natural gas can cut operating costs and reduce emissions for large industry players in Northern Ontario, improving competitiveness and economic viability."

In 2015, the communities of Schreiber, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Manitouwadge and Wawa signed franchise agreements with a Toronto-based infrastructure partnership – Northeast Midstream LP. The project will extend gas to service to approximately 11 000 northern residents and businesses by using LNG. The availability of LNG is expected to open up new opportunities in northern Ontario and support the use of low-carbon fuels for trucking, industry and shipping.

The President of the general partner of Northeast Midstream LP, Joshua Samuel, said: “The high cost of traditional infrastructure means that Northern Ontario communities rely on provincial funding support to promote and develop innovative solutions.

"Natural gas via LNG will provide Northern Ontario residents and businesses with a more cost-effective, reliable and cleaner source of energy.”

Despite the loan program’s significance as a step towards expanding gas service to rural and northern areas, additional support is still required through the Natural Gas Economic Development Grant Program.

Edited from press release by David Rowlands

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