Breaking out the calculator for the ‘increasingly uncertain’ future of LNG

In this week’s newsletter, we look at the economic viability of the B.C. government’s steadfast support for gas projects. And on Black Friday, we bring you a coveted Narwhal toque for becoming a member by midnight

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Coastal GasLink construction site with snow
A year ago, in November of 2021, RCMP conducted military-style raids on Wet’suwet’en territory, arresting matriarchs, land defenders and journalists.

The federal police force continues to spend millions — more than $25 million and counting, to be exact — enforcing Coastal GasLink’s injunction.

The pipeline is more than 75 per cent of the way towards completion — but is it even economically viable? That’s the question northwest B.C. reporter Matt Simmons probes in his latest piece, which examines both Coastal GasLink and the project that it is set to feed, LNG Canada.

B.C. has committed more than $6 billion to the two projects through a mix of subsidies, investments and agreements with First Nations. And it says this financing will pay off to the tune of $23 billion in government coffers over 40 years. 

When you break this figure down, it works out to $575 million per year. It can be easy to point to the current global energy crisis, spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and say that there is plenty of demand to warrant B.C.’s investment. But what will demand for LNG Canada look like five or 10 years after it gets up and running in 2025, as countries move forward on net-zero emissions pledges? “That is an increasingly uncertain proposition,” one energy economics analyst told Matt.
A private security worker and Chief Na'moks
Meanwhile, on Wet’suwet’en territory, tensions are as high as ever: just this month, Coastal GasLink security workers told Hereditary Chief Na’moks he would be arrested if he crossed a gate to monitor a construction site — something he had done numerous times before without a problem.

Matt was also present (listen to his account on The Big Story podcast) and he too was warned not to cross the line, despite the fact that courts have ruled injunctions do not apply to any journalist who is collecting or gathering information without interfering. That ruling, you’ll recall, didn’t stop the RCMP from arresting photojournalist Amber Bracken last November while she was reporting from Wet’suwet’en territory for The Narwhal.

Our reporting on the RCMP, Coastal GasLink and Wet’suwet’en opposition is far from over. Stay tuned for plenty of more accountability work to come.

Take care and run the numbers twice,

Arik Ligeti
Director of audience
Gif of Narwhal readers and staff with Narwhal toques on a dark grey background

Will you swim against the current?

We won’t lie, this has been a tough year. And yet, thanks to our members, The Narwhal has been hiring staff and reaching more readers across Canada than ever before.

This is why some of our readers signed up recently to sustain independent journalism:

“The Narwhal just GOES for it fearlessly and with priorities that I can embrace. What a beacon!” 

“You do important work that isn’t being done enough elsewhere. I have huge respect for your journalists.”

“I can’t save the world all by myself.”

On Black Friday, we’re turning to readers like you with a request to swim against the consumer current and support in-depth, investigative journalism in Canada that holds power to account.

BONUS: become a member by midnight tonight, and we’ll send you a sweet Narwhal toque. 

Let’s swim against the current!

This week in The Narwhal

Photo of three northern mountain caribou in snow-clad mountains
Canada is hosting the largest biodiversity conference in the world. Here’s what’s at stake
By Ainslie Cruickshank 
Thousands of people will soon converge on Montreal for the United Nations’ biodiversity conference, the world’s big chance to agree on a path forward to save nature — and ourselves.

A man stands on dry, cracked mud in drought-ridden southern Manitoba in summer 2021
Droughts, floods and extreme heat: how Manitoba is grappling with its water woes
By Julia-Simone Rutgers
An apple tree fallen over.
How logging left Atlantic Canada’s trees vulnerable to Hurricane Fiona
By Haley Ritchie

Woman with red hand print across mouth looks out a small window from a dark room
A year after RCMP raids on Wet’suwet’en territory, the Coastal GasLink conflict isn’t going away
By Matt Simmons
Person in wetsuit holds up herring and hemlock sprig
A new generation of citizen scientists welcome Pacific herring back home
By Lauren Kaljur


What we’re reading

Underfunded, understaffed, Canada’s Indigenous Services Agency is failing to protect First Nations
Blame for deadly heat dome, Lytton, B.C. blaze pinned on climate change in new study
teddy bear using calculator
When you’re trying to figure out if something makes economic sense or not. We’re no experts either, but we’ll ask those who are and let you know what the nerds have to say — tell your friends to sign up so they’re also spared from doing the math.
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