Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BG LNG plans fuel discussion points on resource development

Tuesday's Vancouver Sun has provided a rather extensive review of the proposed BG LNG development, highlighting the scope of the project not only for Prince Rupert, but the impact of it for all of Northern British Columbia.

Gordon Hamilton has assembled some interesting points of review as part of the story, offering up a glimpse into the potential that the project holds for the North Coast, as well as  providing some background on of some of the controversial aspects of that development.

As we outlined on the blog earlier this week, the call for public comment by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency was issued on Monday, setting in motion the first tangible steps in the lengthy timeline from proposal to finished project for the BG Group.

The Sun article outlines the benefits to Prince Rupert in the way of jobs and spin off industrial growth, impressive numbers that may arrive with the development of the LNG projects on the North Coast.

A situation that would certainly change much of the dynamic for the region, providing for an increase in population and offering an industrial base on a more secure footing for the City of Prince Rupert. Benefits that would we imagine would be welcomed by a City that has been struggling through the last decade and continues to face challenges daily.

Beyond the infrastructure built on Ridley Island, the arrival of LNG would herald an amazing increase in the number of transits through the Port of Prince Rupert.

Upon completion of phase one of the BG Group terminal alone, there would be an anticipated outbound shipment of LNG about every three to four days. With more vessel calls to follow, should a second phase of construction be approved, depending on market conditions.

Numbers which we imagine would jump dramatically, should the Petronas/Progress proposal, along with any of the still percolating projects for the Grassy Point area move forward.

To gain a better understanding of the process of what an LNG plant is all about, the short video below offers up a helpful guide to what it all may look like.

But along with all that potential economic growth for the region, the article also provides an interesting review on the environmental impact of development, as well as some interesting data on potential hydro and water consumption levels that could be required to harvest the gas and ship it to overseas markets.

Concerns that highlight the challenges that such massive development could bring to the province's resources and the infrastructure that is currently in place.

In his review of the topic, Hamilton outlines the thoughts of Art Sterritt the Executive Director of Coastal First Nations. Sterritt expresses concerns over a number of items, but high on the list is a possible increase in greenhouse gas levels and increases in acid rain reports that may come  from such a massive scale of development.

Particularly if the LNG proponents burn off natural gas (as currently is planned) to produce the required electrical needs for their plants.

LNG processing plants require large amounts of electricity to process the gas for shipment, in the case of the current BG Gas model, most of those demands will apparently be generated in house, through the burning of natural gas.

While Sterritt says that the Coastal First Nations are supportive of the industry, he adds that they are also interested in making sure that the energy companies find solutions that reduce that impact on the environment.

Concerns that may require a rethink on the nature of those electrical requirements and how they move forward on the development planning.

You can review the article from the Sun's website here, proponents and opponents alike will most likely find something of value to take away from Mr. Hamilton's research on the topic.

His review provides for many a discussion point on the twin themes of development and the impact on the environment.

Discussions, which we imagine will carry on as the process of evaluation continues to move forward.

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