LNG, Not Oil Sands Behind Future B.C. Growth

LNG | BCBusiness
A liquefied natural gas tanker in the waters off Chiba, Japan. Along with China and South Korea, Japan is expected to be one of the biggest consumers of B.C. LNG.

LNG expected to drive growth of B.C.’s economy over the next two years. Oil sands, less so

Despite a dip in investment, B.C.’s economy is expected to grow at a slightly higher rate than the national average over the next two years, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s spring economic forecast, issued Tuesday.
B.C.’s GDP is predicted to grow at a modest rate of 2.3 per cent in 2014, and then 2.9 per cent in 2015, due to projected investments in the natural resource sector.
The forestry sector, propelled by an uptick in the U.S. housing market, is expected to grow in the 2014. However, the Conference Board expects forestry to enter a period of decline in the years thereafter, due to the mountain pine beetle infestations.
Todd Crawford, senior economist at Conference Board of Canada, attributes the projected growth of BC’s economy to commodity extraction in the energy sector. “Natural gas production in the province has increased considerably over the past five to six years,” says Crawford. “We can expect to see that trend continue.”
Higher growth is also expected to slow the flow of workers from B.C. to Alberta over the next few years, according to the report. Unemployment in B.C. is expected to fall to 5.5 per cent by 2015, down from 6.6 per cent in 2013.
Despite the federal government’s decision Tuesday on the Northern Gateway pipeline, liquefied natural gas is “certainly going to be the driver” behind economic growth for British Columbia in the coming years, says Crawford.  “The LNG facilities will support the development of the province’s own natural gas resources,” says Crawford.