Kitimat-LNG-Canada-May 2023-Clemens-25

LNG

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is promoting B.C. as one of the “most important energy export hubs in the world.” That’s largely because of the province’s new liquefied natural gas, or LNG, industry.

What is LNG?


LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to below 160 C, compressed and turned into liquid for transport in ocean tankers as long as two football fields. 

The launch of the LNG export industry ushers in the biggest fossil fuel boom in B.C.’s history. It’s taking place despite a dire warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that rising greenhouse gas emissions are pushing the world to the brink of disaster. The panel says climate breakdown can only be avoided through immediate and drastic action.

Who owns B.C.’s LNG projects?


Canada’s first three liquefied natural gas export projects, approved by B.C.’s NDP government, will ship fracked gas to Asian markets. LNG Canada — a consortium of multinational oil and gas companies, including Shell and Petronas — will send gas to Kitimat through the Coastal GasLink pipeline that crosses contested Wet’suwet’en territory

Woodfibre LNG, owned by Indonesian billionaire Sukanto Tanoto and Enbridge, will ship liquefied gas from a facility in Squamish. 

Cedar LNG, owned by the Haisla Nation in partnership with Pembina Pipeline Corporation, plans to ship LNG from a floating terminal in Kitimat, pending a final investment decision.

Additional projects are awaiting approval.

What does fracking have to do with LNG?


Natural gas used to produce LNG is extracted from deposits in the province’s northeast using a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. This extraction method, which can induce earthquakes, uses significant amounts of water that’s often mixed with chemicals. Roads, well pads and other infrastructure fragment the landscape, erode biodiversity and make it difficult for First Nations to engage in traditional practices such as hunting. 

How does the industry impact B.C.’s climate targets? 


Cooling fracked gas into a liquid for export requires energy-intensive compression units that run around the clock. LNG Canada will fuel compressor units with natural gas. The first phase of the project will generate 9.6 megatonnes of carbon per year by 2050, according to the Pembina Institute
. That’s before the upstream climate impacts of natural gas extraction from fracking — including the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas — are considered. 

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The second phase of the LNG Canada project, approved by the B.C. government and awaiting a final investment decision, would double greenhouse gas emissions from the terminal, making it difficult for B.C. to meet its climate targets. Running at full capacity, the operation would produce about 13 megatonnes of emissions annually, or more than 20 per cent of B.C.’s total emissions in 2020. 

The Alberta government-funded energy war room, officially called the Canadian Energy Centre, is promoting the expansion of B.C.’s LNG industry with ads, articles and graphics. In November 2022, the energy centre published a report about the role of Canadian natural gas in Asia, highlighting how B.C. projects can help meet growing short-term demand in the region. 

Critics say there are no guarantees LNG will replace coal as a power source and that boosting supply could delay urgently needed transitions to renewable energy. 

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