LNG dream still alive

Until this week, it seemed like B.C.’s LNG dreams might have been pie in the sky.

Premier Christy Clark and her BC Liberals were re-elected on the promise of a booming liquefied natural gas industry, but 2014 came and went, just like its predecessor, without a signed deal on a single LNG project. 

When Malaysian giant Petronas backed out of a proposed deal late last year, things did not look good. Naysayers were quick to predict the industry a flop before it even got off the ground.

But LNG is not dead. Far from it.

Eighteen LNG project proposals are currently on the table in B.C., but investors have yet to make any final investment decisions.

Added to the list this week was what could be a $25-billion shot in the arm to the provincial economy from Exxon Mobil.

This will be a make or break year for LNG in British Columbia. And with the Opposition chorus growing louder on what’s so far been a no-show, it’s time for the province to put up or shut up when it comes to the would-be sector. It’s time to seal some deals.

Just in time, Exxon Mobil comes along with proposal for a massive LNG export facility near Prince Rupert. 

It would cost $25 billion to get up and running, but could churn hundreds of millions of dollars a year into government coffers in the form of taxes.

This is still all hypothetical, and a final decision could still be two years away, but it shows there is still some spark in B.C.’s golden dream.

There is a fear falling oil prices could drag natural gas prices down, too, but LNG is still – by far – the province’s most promising economic salvation. The Exxon plant alone would create between 1,000 and 6,000 construction jobs, and the province is clinging to its belief LNG will rival Alberta’s Oilsands, eventually employing up to 100,000 workers and producing hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue.

If even one plant comes to fruition, the BC Liberals’ gamble will have been worth it.

— News Director Jon Manchester

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