Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said this week that Canada’s federal government is open to accelerating liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects which could start supplying Europe within three years.
In his interview with Bloomberg News, Wilkinson suggests the best way to help “our European friends” would be for Spain’s Repsol SA to convert its existing LNG gasification plant in New Brunswick into an export-capable facility – as long as Canada meets its climate goals, that is.
We agree with our minister on all of the above. Global energy shortages over the past few years have only been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, highlighting the need for new stable and reliable sources of energy.
Meanwhile, the fight against global warming continues.
Like Wilkinson, policymakers around the globe are now performing a balancing act between ensuring energy security for constituents while staying true to climate change commitments.
That can’t be easy.
However, in the case of Canadian-made LNG, contributing to global energy security and taking climate action are not mutually exclusive.
Here’s why we don’t have to choose between supporting the build-out of Canada’s LNG sector and continuing the good fight against climate change.
Fact #1 - Bear Head Emissions Profile
Bear Head LNG is one east coast project that may be brought back to life by the federal government as a supply source for the EU.
According to proponents, Bear Head LNG will have an export capacity of 8 million tonnes per annum and will emit 30 per cent fewer carbon emissions compared to other competing technologies for the same volume of supply.
Fact #2 – Energie Saguenay Emissions Profile
Quebec’s now-defunct Energie Saguenay LNG project was estimated to have an emissions profile that was 84 per cent less GHG-intensive than similar-sized producers in Asia and the U.S.
Additionally, a life cycle analysis found that Energie Saguenay’s role in providing transitional energy to replace other more polluting forms such as coal and fuel oil could have prevented the release of 28 million tonnes of GHGs every year.
Fact #3 - LNG Canada Emissions Profile
Canada’s only LNG export facility under construction (LNG Canada) on British Columbia’s coastline is projected to emit 50 per cent fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the average facility and 30 per cent fewer than the best performing facility worldwide.
Like many other Canadian LNG projects, LNG Canada will plug into the grid for its power. In B.C.'s case, the province generates more than 95 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as hydro.
Fact #4 – LNG Canada Emission Reductions
A fully developed LNG Canada export facility could reduce global GHG emissions by up to 82 megatonnes annually – equivalent to taking 18 million cars off the road.
Desjardins comes to this conclusion by substituting Canadian-made LNG for coal in power and heat generation in China.
Fact #5 - Woodfibre Emissions Profile
Woodfibre LNG, Canada’s second west coast project expected to make it to the construction phase, will also help to reduce GHG emissions by displacing coal-fired power generation in China.
Project proponents say doing so could reduce GHGs by 45 per cent, another huge win for the environment.
Fact #6 - Ksi Lisims Net-Zero Commitment
Ksi Lisims LNG, an indigenous-led development in Northern B.C., is committed to net-zero emissions within the first three years of its initial shipment.
Proponent Eva Clayton, Chief of the Nisga’a Nation, says the project will be in a climate league of its own given its net-zero aspirations and involvement with governmental climate initiatives on both provincial and federal levels.
Fact #7 – Switching LNG with Coal in China
Research groups from Stanford University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Calgary conducted three independent life-cycle analyses of the same planned LNG supply chain from Canada to China.
They found that substituting Canadian LNG for coal in China for power and heat generation could accomplish a 34-62% reduction in CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated.
Fact #8 - Proximity to Global Markets
LNG export facilities in Canada are close to key international markets, meaning less costs and fuel spent compared to routes taken by competitors. For example:
> Canadian west coast LNG exports would take about ten days to ship to Asia, versus about 20 days for tankers from the U.S. Gulf Coast via the Panama Canal
> Canadian east coast LNG exports would take about 6 to 8 days to ship to Europe, the shortest distance of any North American LNG projects
> East coast LNG exports would also take about 1.5 days less than those from the U.S. Gulf Coast to ship to some South American ports via tanker.
Fact #9 - Record on Methane Reductions
A recent analysis by CIBC Capital Markets found Canadian natural gas producers to be among the best in the world on reducing methane emissions and are on track to improve their performance even further.
According to CIBC, Canada:
> Offers some of the lowest GHG-intensive natural gas production in the world
> Is one of the only major global energy producers with policies at every level of methane emissions controls
Fact #10 - World-Class ESG Performance
Of the world’s top natural gas producers and exporters, Canada is amongst the highest - if not THE highest - on several Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indices, including (but not limited to):
- Green Future Index
- Democracy Index
- Global Peace Index
- Rule of Law Index
- Corruptions Perception Index
- Global Press Freedom Index
- Sustainable Development Index
- Women, Peace, Security Index
- Yale Environmental Performance Index
- Social Progress Index
- World Bank Governance Index
So, the question remains: who would you choose to get your LNG from? Would it be from highly transparent and regulated countries like Canada, or other producers often with much weaker protections for human rights and the environment?!
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Minister, Canadians don’t have to choose between supporting climate action and the LNG sector, as the facts above show. We can do both, and should for the benefit of Canadian families AND the global environment!
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