Plans for a C$40-billion LNG project in Kitimat, BC have been finalized, according to news reports. The LNG Canada project is a joint venture between Shell, Petronas of Malaysia, PetroChina, Korean Gas, and Mitsubishi, and would be the largest infrastructure project in Canadian history.
While industry analysts said the project will trigger a wave of LNG investment and would “make a lot of people happy,” Tom Green, of the David Suzuki Foundation, warned the project is “doubling down on yesterday’s economy,” reported Global News. Green said the project, combined with BC’s weak methane emissions rules, could cause the province to fall short of its 2025 methane emissions target by 45%. “We should be transitioning to a low-carbon economy, to less greenhouse gas pollution, so our focus should be on building out renewables.”
The Financial Post reported the LNG Canada project is approved for 13 million tons of LNG annually, with a second phase anticipated to double the capacity to 26 million tons per year.
Global news reported that for the last several years, LNG projects have been mothballed due to a global supply glut. Oversupply is now predicted to ease, spurring investment in LNG. A pipeline proposal to supply the project, from the Peace Region to Kitimat, has gained the support of First Nations along the intended route.
Claims that natural gas is a bridge fuel to zero-carbon energy remain dubious. Natural gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas roughly 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. According to a 2017 study by St. Francis Xavier University and the David Suzuki Foundation, methane leaks from wells in BC are pervasive and 2.5 times greater than reported by industry.
The National Energy Board has so far approved LNG projects totaling a capacity of 14.6 billion cubic feet per day. If this level of production were realized, 50,000 wells would be needed, with fracking using up to 10 million gallons of water per well.
For a detailed analysis on LNG in BC see BC LNG Reality Check by Post Carbon Institute fellow David Hughes.