By Rich Coleman
Minister of Natural Gas Development
Victoria: After three years of planning, we anticipate British Columbia’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry will take flight in 2015 as leading proponents make final decisions to move forward with some of the largest capital projects in our province’s history.
This will be great news for many British Columbians who will be first in line for many well-paying jobs created by these investments. Over time, we project as many as 100,000 new jobs could be created through diversification with the natural-gas sector.
The job creation and economic opportunities will be far reaching, creating a brighter future for our communities and their people.
First Nations also stand to gain from the promise of LNG with the finalization of many new benefit agreements in 2015, similar to the one recently signed with the Nisga’a Nation that allows them to collect property tax on their land for industrial operations. The agreement builds on an earlier agreement for the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Ltd., which will see the construction and operation of LNG pipeline infrastructure on their traditional land.
Over the last year, the Province has put in place a competitive policy framework that defines the playing field. The LNG income tax framework gives companies the certainty they need to make investment decisions, while legislation has been passed to establish greenhouse gas emission targets that will make B.C. LNG facilities the cleanest in the world.
We’ve done the work needed to enter the global LNG market and bring new revenues, jobs and economic security to B.C. residents.
Industries’ responses have been positive. LNG proponents have told us that B.C. remains competitive and the prospects of growth and investment remain strong as Asia’s need for energy grows.
We now have 18 proposals for LNG export operations. Provincial Environmental Assessment Certificates have been issued for three LNG projects – the Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission pipeline, the Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility in Port Edward and the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline. One project signed an agreement with BC Hydro to use clean renewable electricity, and a number of pipeline benefit agreements have been signed with First Nations, paving the way for pipelines to bring natural gas from northeast B.C. to LNG facilities on our coast.
New drilling activity in our upstream sector demonstrates investors remain confident in B.C.’s long-term natural gas potential. One of our province’s largest Crown land sales in history occurred near the end of 2014 with industry contributing over $209 million for exploration rights alone.
While the interest has been tremendous, our goal remains to meet the BC Jobs Plan target of three LNG facilities by 2020. This would increase natural gas production and provincial revenues.
Realizing British Columbia’s LNG goal will take time, and a lot has already been achieved. Progress made in 2014 clearly shows we are ready for unprecedented growth.
Today, our natural gas industry in B.C. employs more than 13,000 people and generates billions of dollars in revenue – more than $15 billion over the last 10 years. This revenue supports vital programs and services for British Columbia.
Our government wants to build on this foundation and is doing the work required to create a brighter future for our province.
LNG will build on a 50-year tradition established by our existing oil and gas industry by turning an abundant domestic resource into a global exportable commodity.
We have enough natural gas to help fuel our world for the next 150 years.
I’m look forward to a remarkable 2015 as we reinvent a mature industry and turn a vast supply of natural gas into Canada’s next economic success story.
By Rich Coleman