Massive LNG project in northern BC reportedly given the go-ahead

Rendering of the northwest side of the LNG Canada

LNG Canada, to be built in the northern community of Kitimat, British Columbia, also marks the largest private-sector investment project in Canadian history, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a Vancouver news conference.

The project marks a turning point for Canada and the global gas industry.

Essentially, the project by LNG Canada is to improve Canada's resources for liquefied natural gas by carving out a new route to Asia.

With a terminal on Canada's pacific coast, BC LNG will be able to be shipped to energy hungry markets in Tokyo or Shanghai within 10 days.

Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, former Liberal energy minister Rich Coleman and Skeena Liberal MLA Ellis Ross, a former Haisla Nation chief and early LNG backer in Kitimat, were present at the signing ceremony with Horgan, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and representatives from the five worldwide energy giants behind the LNG Canada project. "We believe that that pattern will continue going into 2020s".

The David Suzuki Foundation said its research has found that methane emissions from B.C.'s oil and gas industry are "vastly under-reported". A total of $40 billion CAD will be invested in the project over the next several years. TransCanada will seek financing and joint venture partners for the pipeline, which is slated to begin service in 2023.

It is expected to supply 26m tons of LNG exported annually to Asian markets. The investment case largely rests on the assumption that China will replace much of its coal use with natural gas in attempts to clear pollution and reduce carbon emissions. Shell is predicting LNG demand will double by 2035.

The prospect of billions of dollars in liquefied natural gas revenues has British Columbia's government preparing for a political and environmental juggling act as Premier John Horgan attempts to hold together his minority government while appeasing ever watchful climate guardians. Prices have been lower than that for the vast majority of the past four years, but Uhl suggested there would be a "supply gap" opening up around the time the project starts selling fuel that will raise prices.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the announcement represents the single largest private sector investment project in Canadian history.

The joint venture claims the cost to deliver LNG from its project to Asia would be structurally advantaged compared to a greenfield development on the US Gulf coast.

It also helps reaffirm Canada's investment climate, battered by the bungled expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, which was sold by Kinder Morgan Inc.to the government for C$4.5 billion before its approval was quashed by a federal court. Plant's estimated construction cost at $1,000 per ton of LNG.

The initial two-train development will have the capacity for 14 million tonnes of LNG per annum and a further two trains could potentially be added in subsequent development phases.

Bloomberg said this latest approval marks the end of a seven-year effort, including two postponements in 2016 at the depths of the downturn.

Wetselaar said global demand for LNG has grown 9 per cent in the past year alone and the LNG the project will produce is half as emission-intensive as coal, a power source which Asian countries are trying to replace with LNG.

The project was approved by all its stakeholders - Shell, Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), PetroChina Co Ltd, Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp.

Jenny Peng is a Vancouver-based reporter covering business. All comments are subject to editorial review.

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