Canada: B.C. Needs More Skilled LNG Workers, Says Report
British Columbia will need more than 75,000 permanent skilled workers once liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are fully operational in B.C., according to a new BC Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee report. In addition, 60,000 workers will be needed during peak construction in 2016 and 2017.
“To make sure our province seizes the full opportunity of LNG, our first priority is building a strong and skilled B.C. workforce,” said Premier Christy Clark. “The committee’s report is a first step towards charting the course for LNG, and we will continue to work with all partners to make sure British Columbians remain first in line for the best opportunities.”
Premier Clark will outline the LNG opportunities and lead a discussion on the need to build a skilled workforce with other jurisdictions at the next Council of the Federation meeting on July 25-26 at Niagara-on-the-Lake, where Premiers will discuss skills training, jobs and the economy.
“The largest employer in our province’s natural-gas industry, the oil- and gas-services sector, will create the most jobs in B.C. over the next decade, and it is crucial that we have a strategy in place to ensure we have skilled workers ready and trained for future growth,” said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond. “It is critical to look at all sectors, including LNG, and take action to ensure that skills training is aligned with the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
The BC Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee was formed in March 2012 to develop an understanding of the workforce needed to build and operate natural-gas-related projects, conduct an environmental scan of the potential labour supply available to the projects, and build a workforce strategy and action plan to address labour supply-and-demand concerns.
“LNG, the world’s cleanest-burning fossil fuel, gives B.C. an unprecedented opportunity to create a lasting legacy and employment for future generations to come,” said Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman. “We have a vision of B.C. as a strong, prosperous and competitive economy and LNG will help us realize that vision for decades to come.”
The committee’s work to-date indicates that all stakeholders involved – industry, government and local communities – have a strong desire to ensure the local labour force and business sector are first to benefit from natural-gas investment in northern B.C. However, northern B.C.’s labour force will simply not be able to meet the labour demand generated by the growth of the province’s natural gas industry. The B.C. Natural Gas Workforce Strategy and Action Plan identifies the need to take action to increase the employment of local talent, as well as attract and retain talent from other regions.
Next steps on the road to LNG include:
- Addressing barriers to employment.
- Developing information, standards and tools to serve as foundations to further action.
- Delivering workers to current in-demand jobs in upstream natural-gas operations.
“Over the past year, the committee met extensively with industry partners and First Nations to discuss the tremendous scope of LNG opportunities in B.C. and identify the need for skilled workers during the development and implementation phases of LNG projects,” said Geoff Stevens, chair of the BC Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee. “The report outlines our key findings and provides government and its many partners with an overview that will help inform future decision making about LNG in our province.”
“Skilled workers are the key to building and operating LNG facilities like the one that we are proposing in Port Edward,” said Greg Kist, president of Pacific NorthWest LNG. “Today’s announcement is a step toward meeting our skilled-labour needs and an acknowledgement that this emerging LNG industry is an opportunity for all of Canada to embrace.”
The BC Natural Gas Workforce Strategy Committee was established with financial support from the provincial and federal governments under the Labour Market Partnerships Program, and comprises representatives from major companies, industry associations and provincial government ministries. Co-ordination for the project was led by the Resource Training Organization.
- In 2012, B.C.’s natural gas industry employed about 13,235 workers across three sub-sectors:
- 8,570 in oil and gas services.
- 3,680 in exploration and production (E&P).
- 985 in natural gas pipelines.
- Oil and gas services workers are involved in oilfield construction, drilling, completions and well servicing.
- The E&P sector employs workers that operate and maintain production wells and work in processing plants. Some E&P companies also operate pipelines between production fields and processing plants.
- Pipeline workers operate and maintain the pipelines used in the transmission of natural gas to markets and customers. In B.C., some pipeline companies also operate gas-processing plants.
- LNG export facilities or plants will require a highly technical workforce. Priority will be given to skilled B.C. workers, but because of the sheer number of workers required, there will be a need for workers from outside the local region or the province.
- The B.C. Natural Gas Workforce Strategy and Action Plan includes a summary of information contained in a Grant Thornton LNG Employment Impact Review, which based its analysis and labour market outlook statistics on the opening of five LNG plants in northern B.C. by 2021.
- This target would require the following:
- Over 60,000 jobs at peak construction:
- 21,600 jobs will be directly involved in the building of LNG export facilities and associated pipelines during peak construction – expected to occur 2016/2017.
- 41,900 jobs will be created in the industries that supply goods and services during the construction phase at its peak.
- Over 75,000 jobs once the LNG projects are fully operational:
- 2,400 permanent jobs to operate and maintain the plants and pipelines on an ongoing basis.
- 61,700 jobs to support LNG operations, including workers required to drill, produce, process and transport the natural gas required to feed the export facilities.
- 11,100 jobs in industries benefitting from LNG workers spending their wages in the broader economy.
- LNG development will require the construction of facilities, transfer stations, jetties and pipelines.
- LNG export facilities will be built in the northwest region of B.C.
- Pipeline construction will take place across the northern region of the province to connect natural-gas supply in the northeast with the export facilities and ports in Kitimat and Prince Rupert.