Bleak LNG outlook won't stop Coleman's Asia trip 0
Energy Minister Rich Coleman. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
A shaky outlook by analysts isn’t stopping the B.C. government from sending more representatives to Asia to hawk the province’s nascent liquefied natural gas industry.
Energy Minister Rich Coleman will leave Friday for a trip covering South Korea, China and Malaysia to, in part, meet with companies who have already decided to invest in the province’s LNG operations.
The trip is in advance of Premier Christy Clark’s trade mission to Asia starting Nov. 21.
Victoria insists demand for the fuel, which is abundant in northeastern B.C., will grow along with Asia, meaning a cash cow for the province.
LNG prices in Asia, however, haven’t been the boom some predicted, especially since many countries have started LNG expansion causing production to outpace demand, according to reports from various financial firms, including Ernst and Young.
Coleman said the province is keeping an eye on the instable prices and demand as the province rushes to become an LNG hub by 2017, as promised by the BC Liberals in May’s election campaign.
“That will be one of the things we’ll be watching,” Coleman said in Vancouver. “There is concern about what price we’ll land at.”
The B.C. government claims LNG has turned into an industry worth more than $7 billion for the province, creating thousands of jobs.
It has become the centerpiece of the Liberal government’s BC Jobs Plan and Victoria plans to have at least three LNG plants operational in the province by 2020.
Opponents of the plan have expressed concern about the environmental impact of the process, known as fracking, used to extract the gas.
Coleman insists B.C. operations will be the “cleanest” in the world.
That said, an overview of B.C.’s coal industry released by the government boasted production reached record levels in 2012 with Asia its main consumers.