The government of British Columbia has released its CleanBC Climate Change Accountability report, summarizing the province’s actions and progress to date toward its stated emissions reduction targets.
The report specifies a new short-term emissions target that requires greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in B.C. to be 16 per cent below 2007 levels by 2025. The province will set sectoral targets to be established by March 31, 2021, and will develop legislation to ensure B.C. reaches net-zero emissions by 2050.
The government determined emissions reduction to date are not on track, so designed the new 2025 goal to close the perceived gap. However, much of the gap arose from a change in data and methodology at the federal government level that resulted in a lower 2007 emissions baseline for B.C. In addition, data collection lags behind actual emissions: the most recent year for which emissions data is available is 2018, however province-wide emissions were expected to stabilize in 2019 as a result of numerous reduction efforts. The currently available data also does not reflect impacts of civil lockdowns during the pandemic period.
Responsibly producing liquefied natural gas for global markets
Providing clean, reliable and affordable energy to growing populations around the world, while continuing to reduce emissions, is a global challenge. Canadian natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production and export to overseas markets can be part of the solution, addressing growing demand for energy and reducing net global GHG emissions.
In addition, the industry remains a cornerstone of B.C.’s export-dependent economy, creating jobs and maintaining revenues needed to support British Columbians through this difficult time.
Natural gas and LNG producers in Canada believe we have a domestic and global obligation to address emissions. This is why the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and its members have established eight Industry Climate Commitments to enable the upstream industry to be a key, effective solution provider through innovation, collaboration and globally competitive strategies designed to meet the challenge to mitigate climate change.
As global economies re-open in the post-pandemic period, natural gas demand is expected to rebound, and long-term demand will be sustained due to population growth and rising standards of living. This growing global demand for natural gas has created a unique opportunity for Canada to develop a domestic LNG industry.
LNG facilities proposed, under construction or operating in B.C. are:
- Woodfibre LNG (Squamish B.C.) – plans to export about 2.1 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) over 40 years, or about 300 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). Awaiting final investment decision to proceed with construction.
- LNG Canada (Kitimat B.C.) – Canada’s largest LNG project, under construction and planned to be in operation in 2025. Phase 1 has two liquefaction trains with a capacity of seven MTPA each, or about 850 MMcf/d.
- Tilbury Island (near Vancouver) – since 1971, this facility has supplied LNG domestically to fuel trucks, buses and ferries. The facility was recently expanded and a small amount of this increased production is being shipped to China. In February 2020, the operator filed plans to further expand the facility’s capacity and is planning another small LNG facility at Terrace, B.C. If approved, construction could begin in 2021 with operations beginning as early as 2022. (source: Tilbury Pacific).
- Cedar LNG – with the Haisla Nation holding the majority investment stake, Cedar LNG will be the first majority Indigenous-owned LNG export facility in Canada. Located in Douglas Channel near Kitimat, this floating LNG plant will be designed to produce approximately 3 to 4 million tonnes of LNG per year for export. The project has been granted a natural gas export licence and has started both provincial and federal environmental impact assessments.
B.C.’s environment minister George Heyman said the government has no plans to rule out future LNG expansion so long as it fits within the CleanBC targets, adding “This isn’t a light switch, we’re transitioning. To transition, you want to support industries that exist today and make them less carbon intensive and promote and support wide diversification into the jobs and economy of the future.”
Why B.C.’s LNG is better
Canada’s standards governing exploration, production, transport and use of hydrocarbon resources are rigorous — more so than most other natural gas and LNG producing nations such as Russia, Qatar and the U.S. Canada’s industry also has other advantages:
- The availability of a huge, high-quality natural gas resource in B.C. and Alberta can enable Canada to be a reliable and competitive supplier to global markets.
- Standards in B.C. and Alberta that regulate flaring and venting are among the most stringent in the world, resulting in reduced GHG emissions from upstream production.
- LNG facilities on the West Coast are closer to Asia than any other North American LNG source, particularly those on the U.S. Gulf Coast that must ship via the Panama Canal to access Asian markets. Shorter distances result in lower cost and emissions from marine transport.
- LNG facilities in B.C. have lower operating cost for liquefaction because the average temperature is 7 degrees Celsius versus 27 degrees for Australia and 22 degrees for Louisiana. Lower ambient temperature means lower energy requirements for liquefaction: liquefaction can be up to 30 per cent less expensive in B.C.
- Indigenous communities in B.C. will see a significant increase in economic benefits, skills training and environmental stewardship if proposed natural gas pipelines and LNG projects within their traditional territories proceed.
Additionally, LNG produced in B.C. is among the least carbon-intensive anywhere in the world: 35 per cent lower than the best-performing LNG projects and up to 60 per cent lower than the overall global average. B.C. also has tremendous expertise, technology and exceptional standards for responsible resource production.
A global challenge requires global solutions
Because natural gas burns about 40 per cent cleaner than coal, Canadian LNG can be used in Asia-Pacific markets to displace coal-fired electricity generation, creating jobs and prosperity at home while significantly reducing global GHG emissions.
Lifecycle emissions within Canada will increase when projects currently proposed or under construction begin operation. However, when Canadian LNG is exported and used as an alternative to coal-fired power generation in global markets, this exported LNG will displace higher GHG emissions in overseas markets, resulting in significant net global emission savings. In other words, an increase in Canadian domestic emissions will be more than offset by a large net reduction in global emissions.