Canadian LNG Can Play a Big Role in Underpinning Global Energy Security, If We Let It

Canadian made lng can underping global energy security - if we let it

It’s 2022, and Canada still doesn’t have a single major liquefied natural gas export facility built. Meanwhile, natural gas prices in Europe and Asia are reaching all-time-highs [1], forcing several industries to return to more greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive forms of energy. Utility providers and chemical companies are faced with a predicament: either switch back to more affordable coal and oil, or go out of business [2].

The culmination of events including underinvestment in oil and gas, the pandemic, and now the war in Ukraine have created a significant challenge for governments worldwide looking to undergo an energy transformation.

In Germany, for example, entire industries face ‘catastrophic’ industrial shutdowns and mass unemployment if natural gas shortages continue [3]. Elsewhere, high gas prices are forcing fertilizer plants to close for good [4]. Also, amid the threat of national energy insecurity, countries like China are building new coal-fired power plants en masse [5].

If only there were more natural gas to go around from democratic, responsible, stable and reliable suppliers.

Global LNG Demand Gap Through 2025'

Canada – the world’s fifth largest producer and sixth largest exporter of natural gas – is in no immediate position to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to help stop industry shutdowns and prevent gas-to-oil-and-coal switching from happening worldwide.

How can one of the world’s most responsible energy producers not have substantial access to tidewater for its exports, especially in a world more focused on sustainable Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments than ever before? How can we be without any tangible way to help boost the supply of sustainably produced oil and gas on international markets, which would simultaneously reduce energy scarcity, geopolitical instability and record-high inflation?

These are good questions, the answers to which are partially of Canada’s own doing.

The time it takes for Canadian energy infrastructure projects to get approved and built is just one of many issues Canada faces in becoming an alternative supplier of oil and gas to Europe and other regions abroad.

We need not look any further than south of the border on how to expedite the development of our LNG industry.

For example, Canada took over three and a half years to get federal approval for the now-cancelled Pacific NorthWest LNG project in British Columbia. Regulatory uncertainty and high-startup costs eventually led to the project being shelved in 2017 [6]. Comparatively, the U.S. took over a year to approve the Sabine Pass LNG project in Louisiana. Today, the massive facility has a capacity of 30 million tonnes of LNG per annum (mtpa) and made its first shipment in 2016.

Furthermore, the U.S. is now the world’s largest LNG exporter – and as a result of the energy crisis – has redirected much of its cargo to the EU [7].

Canadian east coast LNG can help provide energy security to Europe and the world

Let’s make wiser decisions going forward, shall we?

It’s not too late for Canada if swift and immediate action is taken. After all, Canadian-made LNG is the best choice for global natural gas supply.

Canadian LNG projects are expected to be some of the least carbon-intensive facilities of their kind in the world [8]. And, with global LNG projected to grow 90% by 2040 [9], it only makes sense that energy comes from the most sustainable producers around.

Let’s look at Canadian LNG projects and their world-class emission profiles for some examples of how our responsibly produced energy can take action on climate abroad. GHGs are global, after all.

LNG Canada, the only project under construction in our country, is projected to emit 50% fewer GHGs than the average facility and 30% fewer than the best-performing facility worldwide. Additionally, university researchers performed three independent life cycle analyses and found that substituting Canadian LNG for coal-fired power and heat generation in Asia could reduce GHGs by up to 64% [10].

Ksi Lisims LNG, an Indigenous-led project in northern British Columbia, is committed to operating with net-zero emissions within three years of its initial shipment.

Nisga'a Nation Ksi Lisims LNG to be Net Zero within 3 years

Quebec’s now-defunct Energie Saguenay project would have had an emissions profile that was 84% less GHG-intensive than similar-sized producers in Asia and the U.S. It also would have reduced global GHGs by 28 million tonnes each year by substituting Canadian LNG for more carbon-intensive forms of power generation abroad [12].

Nova Scotia’s Goldboro LNG project, one that would be considered net-zero when factoring in a planned carbon capture and storage facility in Alberta [11], is another shelved project on the east coast.

How will these projects be “cleaner” than others globally? By utilizing renewably produced electricity for operations such as hydro. Canada’s ability to rely on its vast water resources in provinces like British Columbia and Quebec to power LNG facilities is a game changer from an emissions perspective.

Carbon capture is another advantage Canadian energy producers have. Our country is home to 15% of major carbon capture and storage projects globally, with just 0.5% of the world’s population.

Hence, if you care about climate action through emission reductions, you support Canadian LNG projects, period.

The fact is that Canadian LNG exports will have some of the lowest emissions on earth. Obstructing such projects is demonstrably harmful to global energy security AND the environment - not to mention a sorely missed opportunity for our economy.

LNG myth coal to gas switching is good for the environment

While our closest allies and trade partners grapple with oil and gas shortages – and undergo the world’s worst-ever energy crisis [13] – it’s time we get serious about our LNG future.

The continued obstruction of Canadian LNG export facilities on our coasts by ‘environmentalists’ is not something we should partake in or support. The world needs an “all-of-the-above” solution to the developing energy crisis, which includes everything from oil to renewables to hydrogen to Canadian-made LNG.

The reality is that fossil fuels underpin modern society today as we know it, accounting for roughly 80% of global energy and growing. It’s not sincere to suggest that Canadian-made LNG doesn't have strong potential in global energy markets.

To say otherwise is to take on an unrealistic approach to the nature of global energy systems that have depended on fossil fuels for decades, systems which cannot transition too quickly towards renewables without major consequences.

Canada Action Banner

Sources:

1 – World Bank – Coal and natural gas prices reach record highs, Date Accessed: August 15th, 2022 (https://blogs.worldbank.org/opendata/energy-market-developments-coal-and-natural-gas-prices-reach-record-highs)

2 - Reuters – Switch from gas boosts oil demand, but economic headwinds loom – IEA, Date Accessed: August 14th, 2022 (https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/switch-gas-boosts-oil-demand-economic-headwinds-loom-iea-2022-08-11/)

3 – Forbes – German Minister Warns of ‘Catastrophic’ Industrial Shutdowns And Mass Unemployment of Gas Crisis Continue, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/siladityaray/2022/06/24/german-minister-warns-of-catastrophic-industrial-shutdowns-and-mass-unemployment-if-gas-crisis-continues/?sh=2525732f8c33)

4 – Bloomberg – High Gas Prices Force UK Fertilizer Plant to Shut for Good, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-08/high-gas-prices-force-uk-fertilizer-plant-to-close-for-good#xj4y7vzkg)

5 – Reuters – China coal plant approvals surge as energy security trumps climate, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-coal-plant-approvals-surge-energy-security-trumps-climate-greenpeace-2022-07-20/)

6 – Resource Works – It’s time to get Canada into the world LNG game, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.resourceworks.com/get-canada-into-lng-game)

7 – Reuters – Analysis: U.S. LNG exports to Europe on track to surpass Biden promise, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-lng-exports-europe-track-surpass-biden-promise-2022-07-26/)

8 – LNG Canada - Canada’s LNG carbon footprint seen as better than best in class, Date Accessed: July 26th, 2022 (https://www.lngcanada.ca/news/canadas-lng-carbon-footprint-seen-as-better-than-best-in-class/)

9 – Shell – Shell LNG Outlook 2022, Date Accessed: July 26th, 2022 (https://www.shell.com/energy-and-innovation/natural-gas/liquefied-natural-gas-lng/lng-outlook-2022.html)

10 – Journal of Cleaner Production – Greenhouse-gas emissions of Canadian liquefied natural gas for use in China: Comparison and synthesis of three independent life cycle assessments, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652620307484)

11 – CBC – Goldboro LNG project could be revived as floating barge while demand grows for non-Russian gas, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/goldboro-lng-energy-project-gas-pieridae-1.6370827)

12 – Energie Saguenay – Project Summary, Date Accessed: July 26th, 2022 (https://energiesaguenay.com/en/project/project-summary/)

13 – Bloomberg – Worst of Global Energy Crisis May Still Be Ahead, IEA Says, Date Accessed: August 18th, 2022 (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-12/worst-of-global-energy-crisis-may-be-ahead-iea-s-birol-warns)