Why LNG Canada’s final investment decision this fall is so important for B.C.

Whether you are for or, like Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, against the export of liquefied natural gas from the B.C. coast, there’s no denying a decision by LNG Canada to proceed in building a $40-billion facility in Kitimat would be a game-changer, and not just for northern B.C. Think back to 2005, boom times for Canada’s energy industry. The revenue from natural gas exports to the United States, around $35 billion, actually exceeded those for oil from the oilsands. Since then, the advent of shale gas extraction has made the U.S. all but self-sufficient in gas, causing Canadian exports to slow to a trickle. At the same time, some of the world’s largest shale gas deposits were discovered in northeastern B.C., but their development has been constrained by low gas prices. Now consider that Royal Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada’s liquefaction plant alone would consume something approaching half Canada’s current gas production, not to mention diversifying the country’s energy markets away from a recently protectionist U.S. These and more implications are explored in this deep dive into the LNG opportunity by the CBC.