LNG regulatory process hampers BC’s export revenues

Unless BC’s regulatory process for the liquefied natural gas industry is streamlined, the province risks losing out on billions of dollars in export revenues, concludes a study by the Fraser Institute.

The study, finds that the loss of international market share due to regulatory delays (for approval from the federal government, provincial authorities as well as First Nations) could cost the B.C. economy over $20 billion a year — equivalent to 9.5 percent of the province’s GDP in 2014.

“Regulatory delays mean that no Canadian LNG project will start production by 2020. The longer Canadian LNG projects take to move forward, the more likely it is that Canadian producers will be displaced by producers in other nations,” said Ken Green, Senior Director of Natural Resource Studies at the Fraser Institute and study co-author.

B.C.’s natural gas resources are substantial: In 2013, the National Energy Board pegged the province’s ultimate potential for marketable natural gas reserves at 10.6 trillion cubic meters.

Given those quantities — and based on worldwide natural gas consumption projections — B.C. would be well placed to produce and deliver 42 to 74 per ent of LNG demand in the Asia Pacific by 2020, the study shows.

If B.C. projects already approved by the NEB were green-lighted, British Columbia would be the largest LNG exporter in the world — in the medium term — ahead of countries such as Australia, Qatar and the United States.

Instead, the regulatory delays mean that British Columbia is destined to be a laggard resulting in lost market share.

“It’s certainly the role of the government to impose appropriate environmental, safety, and financial controls to protect community interests but it’s in government’s best interest to impose these regulations in an expedited manner,” Green said.

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