B.C. Promises to Cut LNG Red Tape

resources | BCBusiness
Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman at the Kitimat LNG site in September 2013

The Province pushes to maintain momentum, following up on news of a doubling of natural-gas reserves by announcing a initiative aimed at speeding up the process for approving LNG projects

Companies looking to profit from B.C.’s huge shale gas reserves may soon be able to cut through provincial red tape. Just days after the government announced a doubling or B.C.’s natural gas reserves, the province is now promising a faster, more streamlined process for the permitting of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
LNG projects convert natural gas to liquids prior to export to international markets, where both prices and demand are high.
According to a Ministry of Environment press release, B.C.’s Oil and Gas Commission and the Environmental Assessment Office will begin sharing information immediately.
“Under this memorandum, the Environmental Assessment Office and the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission will work together to reduce duplication and shorten the time it takes to get an approved project up and running,” Environment Minister Mary Polak says.
The memorandum of understanding will see the two agencies share more information and run many of the required meetings and inspections jointly, thereby cutting numerous processes that are presently duplicated during the permitting process.
The announcement is timely, given other developments in the sector. The U.S. is in the midst of an oil boom that will vault the country to the top of the world’s crude producers within two years, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual energy forecast, released yesterday.
As reported by the Globe and Mail, IEA report says that the U.S. “is on the verge of becoming the world’s largest oil producer, and is well on its way of realizing the American dream of net energy self-sufficiency.”
U.S. energy self-sufficiency could be bad news for Canadian producers, which rely on exports south of the border. To offset losses from increased U.S. production, Canadian producers would likely need to find new markets overseas, particularly Asian markets, where natural gas prices are higher than North American prices, and demand from fast-growing economies is high.
“Developing a globally competitive liquefied natural gas industry is a priority for our government,” Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman said. “With these changes, we will ensure both a rigorous and timely review of applications in British Columbia.”