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Commodity Report: B.C.’s LNG Industry

The third annual 2015 International LNG in BC Conference—taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre from October 14-16, 2015—will host several panel discussions and keynote speakers all focused on shining a light on British Columbia’s commitment to creating a clean and prosperous export-oriented LNG industry. 

Over 1,400 delegates from around the world attended last year’s three-day International LNG in BC Conference, which was appropriately called Powering a Strong Economy: British Columbia’s LNG in the Global Market. Most new export opportunities of LNG (liquefied natural gas) are located in Asia, where economies in China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines are growing quickly. Given the potential of B.C.’s LNG to become a huge global export in the coming years, it’s no surprise that many international investors are expected to attend the 2015 conference.

According to energy analysts, the Asia Pacific region is projected to increase its demand for natural gas by at least two-and-a-half times by 2030. In a report published by B.C.’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, titled Liquefied Natural Gas: A Strategy for B.C.’s Newest Industry, B.C. Premier Christy Clark expressed her views on the potential of LNG saying, “We’ve always relied on natural resources to fuel our economy. Now, with LNG, we have a rare and exciting opportunity to build a whole new industry.”

Some of the world’s most promising areas for natural gas extraction are in northern British Columbia, with an estimated supply of over 1,400 trillion cubic feet. Based on the amount of gas that industry is able to recover, B.C. has a natural gas supply of over 80 years—and new discoveries are being made all the time.

In order for natural gas to be shipped by pipeline to tidewater export facilities, the substance is chilled to about -160 °C, at which point it condenses to liquid.

Because LNG takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas when in its gaseous state, it can be stored and transported easily in specially designed containers.

As part of the BC Jobs Plan, which was launched in 2011 to get B.C. products to new markets, the B.C. government has set a goal of having three LNG export facilities in operation by 2020.

To achieve this goal, an LNG Strategy was developed which set in motion a plan to build the industry. The strategy captured the attention of large companies and global investors who have since come forward with a variety of LNG proposals, now at various stages of development.

Most of these projects—now 19 in number—are planned for northwest British Columbia in communities such as Kitimat and Prince Rupert. These projects are so significant that they represent the largest private sector investment proposals in the British Columbia’s history.

Strength in Numbers
Today B.C. has more than 40,000 kilometres of pipelines that transport natural gas, oil, water and other fluids. Natural gas pipelines connect wells in the northeast to markets across British Columbia.

The LNG industry is expected to generate significant revenues for federal and provincial governments, money that will be used to provide a wide range of public services:

$150-billion in tax revenue for the federal government; up to $1-trillion to the province’s gross domestic product.

The LNG industry will create an estimated 100,000 jobs in B.C.
Last year, approximately 240 million tonnes of LNG were traded around the world.
350 carriers have completed more than 135,000 voyages, travelling more than 240 million kilometres at sea.
British Columbia is actively marketing natural gas to China, one of the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions. If China switched from coal to natural gas today, its carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by up to 40 per cent.

China is currently the world’s heaviest user of fossil fuels: