The race is on for LNG profits and B.C. can’t slow down 0
Kitimat LNG is 40 per cent owned by KM LNG Operating General Partnership (KM LNG) by its managing partner Apache Canada Ltd., 30 per cent owned by EOG Resources Canada Inc., and 30 per cent owned by Encana Corporation. Kitimat is a coastal city in northwestern British Columbia, in the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine. (PHOTO JACKIE L. LARSON/EDMONTON/QMI AGENCY)
Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on Abbotsford evicting the homeless was Laila Yuile with 51%.
This week’s topic:
Should we put a stop to LNG implementation for more study and to set standards?
You can bet Rich Coleman, B.C.’s minister of Natural Gas Development, has had a busy summer working with industry, labour and First Nations in an effort to lay the foundation for the highly touted liquefied natural gas industry.
The stakes are high. If the right decisions are made and the right private partnerships are negotiated, then the potential financial windfall could secure a prosperous future for all British Columbians.
However, if we listen to naysayers and drag our feet, we are certain to be left behind in the race to sell LNG to Asian markets. We simply can’t risk a slowdown.
Based on projections driven by five new LNG facilities, forecasts for the new sector are ambitious and tantalizing. According to government estimates, supported by reports from Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton, the province could see revenues as high as $180 billion between now and 2038 —more than enough revenue to erase B.C.’s estimated $62-billion debt, fund social programs and do away with the provincial sales tax.
Jobs are also on the table. According to the B.C. Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee, LNG could bring nearly 130,000 new jobs to the province. The committee also estimates that during peak construction — expected to occur in 2016-17 — more than 21,000 jobs will be directly involved in building export facilities and pipelines, and 41,000 jobs will be created to supply goods and services to the construction effort. An estimated 64,000 ongoing jobs will be required to support LNG operations, including drilling, processing and transportation. These jobs represent a dramatic increase in B.C.’s skilled workforce, which is why the B.C. Federation of Labour — a longtime BC Liberal adversary — has set aside political differences and joined a new government-sponsored LNG jobs training committee. Clearly, labour is onboard.
Now it’s time for the critics to get onboard. There has been a growing call to slow down LNG development. Naysayers in the media have pointed to a number of “potential” issues, including a future collapse of the current high prices paid by Asian customers, high tax concessions to attract industry players, missing greenhouse gas emission targets, and warnings about hydraulic fracking. These concerns should not slow down the development of LNG. During the past 50 years, B.C. has demonstrated world-class standards to safely extract and transport natural gas and we are certainly savvy enough to negotiate competitive agreements with suppliers and customers. Let’s get LNG in place and do the hard work to realize the windfall as promised.
Brent Stafford is a veteran television news-documentary producer and marketing specialist. You can watch his show at ShakyPolitics.com.
Who wins this week's duel on halting LNG?