Friday, January 22, 2016

Premier Clark, Minister Coleman keep the faith on LNG prospects

Premier Christy Clark delivered one 
of the key addresses of this week's 
Natural Resource Forum in Prince George.
(photo from BC Gov't website)
This week's Natural resources conference at the Prince George Civic Centre provided an opportunity for Premier Christy Clark and LNG Minister Rich Coleman to provide their latest update related to the province's still in development LNG industry.

Outlining for the large audience in attendance at the a Prince George resources forum that the province is making strides towards some final investment decisions.

The Premier's BC Natural Resource Forum, an annual  three day affair in the Central Interior city brought together representatives from the resource industry, as well as provincial, Federal, Municipal and First Nations governments.  The main focus of the group was to learn more about the pace of development when it comes to current proposals and to hear more about the state of the province's natural resources industries.

As part of the keynote presentation to the conference, Premier Clark outlined the province's focus and strategy on diversifying the province's industrial and resource development options, pointing towards the announcement of Wednesday that AltaGas had selected Prince Rupert's Ridley Island for its proposed propane shipment terminal.

Other themes from the Premier included a review of the mining sector which she believes will come back from its current troubles and how resource development is the bedrock of the province.

On LNG, the Premier acknowledged the current levels of prices for LNG, admitting that the pace of development is slower than the government had anticipated, but that the government remains committed to moving the industry forward.

Mr. Coleman, the Natural Gas Minister observed for the group that he remains confident that the province could see up to three Final Investment Decisions on LNG in the year to come. Though he offered few specifics on which one's appear closest to making those decisions.

The provincial cabinet was strongly represented with a number of cabinet ministers joining the Premier for portions of the event, some participating in working groups and discussion forums over the course of the event.

Some of the reviews from the Prince George conference can be found below

B. C. Resource Sector up to the challenges: Clark
Premier addresses Natural Resource forum
Financial Expert weighs in on Industry's future
Premier Pumps Up the North
Optimism Remains for LNG
BC Natural Resources Forum kicks off in Prince George

You can review some of the information and programs related to the Forum here.

The theme of energy development  and the future of the oil and gas industry in the province was also on the mind of an advisor to one of the major investors in the province this week, with some fascinating observations on the perceptions of the industry in BC part of an expansive interview in the National Post.

In the Post article, Mr. Weidong Chen, a former researcher  for the Chinese state oil company CNOOC and currently an advisor to the company, offers up a sense of the bemusement and perhaps even some of the frustration that international participants are starting to show when it comes to progress in Canada on development projects.

In the case of CNOOC, which has a large scale presence in the British Columbia and Alberta oil and gas industry, Mr. Chen expressed a particular concern over the nature of what he described as the weakness of the Federal government to move projects forward and highlighted some thoughts on the lengthy process that is currently part of the approval process for projects.

CNOOC is the major investor in the Aurora LNG project that has been proposed for Digby Island.

In an industry of accelerated change, the CNOOC advisor notes that Canada remains committed to going at it's own pace, something he suggests is leaving the country falling behind other major energy nations such as the US and Russia to name a few.

Mr Chen also observes that there is some regret in some Chinese circles over the fast pace of investment in Canada and that there is currently consideration by some in Beijing, that it most likely won't be repeated at the same pace in the future.

The article can be reviewed here.

The Chinese comments, follow those of earlier this month from Datum Wan Zulkiflee Wan Griffin, the Chairman of the Malaysian energy company Petronas, he also noted that sensitive investment timelines are on the mind LNG proponents when it comes to proposed developments.

So, while the Premier and Minister Coleman seem to believe that the pace is soon to deliver results, the investors that they've been chatting with these last few years appear to have some different thoughts when it comes to that theme of pace and progress.

You can review more on the range of projects proposed for the North Coast from our archive page here.

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