Thursday, January 8, 2015

Harvard Report sees many hurdles on BC's LNG horizon

While North Coast residents await further developments from the major energy corporation proponents for LNG development, a recent study from Harvard University is offering up some caution that LNG production in British Columbia may be something with a much longer timeline.

The report titled Falling Short: A reality check for Global LNG Exports, examines a range of international issues related to LNG development, looking at global supply issues, US investment plans in the industry and developments with the various Australian projects.

All of it with an eye towards Asian demand for LNG resources.

Some of the focus of the review is on how the current plummet of oil prices could have a major impact for many of the proposed developments in British Columbia.

As part of their Key Findings is a paragraph dedicated towards Canadian LNG prospects, the vast majority of which are found in British Columbia.

Low oil prices will keep Canada out of the LNG export market for now. Canada faces several hurdles to its LNG export project development. Oil prices need to be over $100 per barrel for Canadian projects to be slightly profitable. 

Even before the oil price fall, not a single planned LNG export scheme reached a final investment decision due to strong opposition by local populations, especially in British Columbia, to the construction of pipelines and LNG terminals, lack of basic infrastructure, environmental issues, and a shortage of skilled workers. 

Combined with the fall of oil prices, it is highly improbable that Canada will contribute to the growth of global LNG export capacity by 2020.

Harvard's Canadian overview, most likely won't be welcome reading in the offices of British Columbia's Natural Gas Minister Rich Coleman, who yesterday outlined that he's still quite bullish on the prospects for British Columbia projects in the year ahead.

By way of a media release on his LNG Ministry website, Mr. Coleman outlined how the year ahead would shape B. C.'s liquefied Natural Gas Industry.

You can also listen in to a review of some of his observations on the LNG file through this background piece available from the BC Government website.

How those observations match up with the results of the Harvard review, will make for an interesting news review as the year moves forward.

You can review the full report from the Harvard study from this link to the Belfer Centre website.

For more items related to LNG development proposals for the Northwest see our Archive page here.

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