Rich Coleman

Coleman still pumped for LNG despite report’s caution

Think tank warns B.C. needs 'realistic expectations' on hoped-for natural gas bonanza

Deputy premier Rich Coleman says he’s not apologizing for talking up the liquefied natural gas (LNG) windfall awaiting B.C. and dismissed a report that criticizes the B.C. government for being overly optimistic.

“I don’t mind being accused of being an optimist,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “I was accused of that last year when everybody thought we were not going to ever win another election in B.C.”

The minister responsible for natural gas development spoke to the Surrey Board of Trade as part of a panel on LNG.

He was reacting to a critical report this week from the Calgary-based Canada West Foundation, which cautioned B.C. needs to adopt “realistic expectations” and understand the case for creating a major new LNG industry is solid but not guaranteed.

Titled “Managing Expectations,” the report cautions other LNG projects in Australia are further advanced and others around the world pose a threat of competition that will push down potential revenues.

“B.C. is coming late to the party,” it says. “Expectations of just a year ago may be tough to deliver.”

The report also notes the proponents in B.C. face potentially large costs relative to other areas to build new pipelines to the coastal LNG plants that would chill and liquefy shale gas for export by tankers to Asia.

The think tank recommends the province move fast to outmaneuver competitors but also prepare for a “more modest natural gas boom” in case the industry doesn’t blossom as fast as Victoria hopes.

“I get a kick out of that because at the same time they also say there’s a huge opportunity in British Columbia for liquefied natural gas,” Coleman said of Canada West’s findings.

In his address to the business audience, he said B.C. has 150 years worth of natural gas reserves to sell that promise to “change the face of the province” like no other opportunity since the years of Premier W.A.C. Bennett.

Coleman said five LNG plants would be equivalent to adding $1 trillion to the B.C. economy over 30 years, making the province debt-free within 15 years and creating a $100-billion prosperity fund for future programs.

He also insisted B.C. has advantages for LNG, among them its shipping proximity to Asia and the cool temperatures of the north coast, which mean cheaper costs to supercool natural gas compared to hot climes like Perth, Australia.

Coleman said a partnership led by Shell on a potential Kitimat LNG plant will see $1 billion spent just in the process of making the final investment decision.

The nearby Chevron-Apache LNG partnership has already spent more than $500 million and “taken the top off a mountain” as part of site preparation work.

“These guys are spending real money in real places and they’re dead serious about being here,” he said of the various proponents.

He said the capital investment for five plants could hit $100 billion, far exceeding the biggest recent private investment of the new $3.3 billion RioTinto Alcan aluminum smelter in Kitimat, and creating more than 100,000 jobs.

That work can extend across the province, Coleman said, noting remote camps are already being built by Britco at its plants in Langley and Agassiz.

Trades training to fit the future needs are a major challenge – presuming the projects go ahead.

A key to ensuring they do, Coleman said, is assuring foreign proponents that they will have business certainty in B.C.

The government will soon decide its tax and royalty structure and Coleman said that will be legislated to assure operators that it’s “written in stone” and no future government will try to extract more money from them.

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

Proposed Marine Drive zone aims to make use of small lots ‘more efficient’

CR-3A zone discussed during White Rock’s first virtual public information meeting

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read