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Premiers support need for increased LNG exports to Asia

Once opposed to the idea that Canadian LNG can help reduce global emissions, B.C.’s premier now supports more LNG exports

Canada’s provincial premiers and territorial leaders gathered in Toronto in early December to discuss regional concerns, challenges and opportunities at a meeting of the Council of the Federation. Although the relationship between Alberta premier Jason Kenney and B.C. premier John Horgan has been tense due to B.C.’s opposition to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and other issues, the two leaders did find common ground in supporting increased natural gas production and export to growing markets in Asia in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). They also mutually support the idea of obtaining carbon credits under the proposed Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Horgan said he believes B.C. and Canada should get credit for selling LNG to customers in Asia and India because it will replace coal-fired power plants and improve global air quality.

John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia (left) and Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta chat during the press conference after a meeting of the Council of the Federation, in Mississauga, Ontario in December 2019. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette.

He commented, “We believe low-emission natural gas is a preferable fuel source to high-emission thermal coal. We have a lot of work to do on coming to terms with how we manage global emissions. And Canada’s role can be to displace [coal] with a cleaner product.”

Kenney said, “Every extra unit of exported Canadian liquefied natural gas will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions,” going on to describe Canada’s role as an LNG supplier as a “global game-changer on emissions.”

Natural gas from Canadian LNG has lower life-cycle emissions than coal, and Canadian LNG facilities will have lower emissions intensity than LNG produced anywhere else in the world. Canada has strong environmental performance and has a track record of continuous improvement and technology development. Although increased production of natural gas and LNG would create emissions domestically, under Article 6 Canada would be able to negotiate for credits for displacing coal as a fuel for generating electricity in China, India and other Asian nations.

B.C.’s first major LNG facility, LNG Canada, is currently under construction near Kitimat on the West Coast. The associated Coastal GasLink pipeline is being built to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada liquefaction plant.