In 2014, Canada and the United States were in similar boats: with little to no overseas exports of natural gas. But there was an opportunity—both countries have rich supplies of natural gas, and global demand for natural gas is increasing in places like Asia and Europe as these regions attempt to transition away from high carbon emitting sources of power generation like coal and diesel.
In Canada, producers recognized there was a window of opportunity and advanced 18 proposals for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants capable of exporting natural gas to overseas markets. Fast forward to 2022. After years of uncertainty over project approvals and pipelines, exactly zero new LNG plants have been built in Canada. In the same timeframe, the United States has built seven new LNG facilities, and in 2022 is projected to overtake Qatar as the world’s leading exporter of LNG. The U.S. has increased its market share to 22 percent of global demand, while generating billions in revenue and trade for America. It has plans to build five more plants in the next five years.
Canada with abundant supplies of natural gas and the ability to generate the lowest emissions LNG in the world should be a global leader in helping with the energy transition away from high sources of carbon. The benefits to Canadians in tax royalties and economic activity could be enormous. However with only one major LNG project under construction, Canada is truly in danger of missing the boat.