What Are the Climate Benefits of B.C. LNG Exports?

What are the climate benefits of Canadian LNG cover

What are the environmental benefits of British Columbian liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, versus other supply sources abroad? Lower emissions intensities, a colder climate, and shorter shipping distances are just a few that contribute to a more environmentally friendly LNG supply when coming from Canada’s world-class facilities.

Here are several reasons why the world needs more Canadian LNG, and how the global environment stands to benefit significantly from getting more of our responsibly produced natural gas onto international markets.

#1 - Saving a Canada’s Worth in Emissions

displacing 20% of Asia coal power could save a full Canada in global emissions

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce reported in 2023 that if 20% of Asia’s coal-fired power plants were displaced by natural gas, roughly 680 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per annum could be saved from being released into the atmosphere – more than Canada’s yearly emissions [1].

Hence, 40% of Asia’s coal-fired power plants were displaced with Canadian LNG, then we could save ‘two’ Canada’s worth of emissions, and so on and so forth.

#2 - Displacing More Intensive Forms of Power & Heat Generation in China

Canadian LNG to Asia to displace coal power and heat generation could reduce emissions by up to 62 per cent per unit of electricity generated

While countries like China and India continue to rapidly expand coal power generation to meet their growing electricity needs, Canada is sitting on vast reserves of the cleanest fossil fuel that could help displace higher-intensive forms of power and heat generation abroad.

According to three independent life cycle assessments (LCAs) by research groups at Stanford University, the University of Calgary, and University of British Columbia, displacing coal with natural gas for heat and power generation in China could reduce emissions by up to 62% per unit of electricity generated [2].

#3 - Reducing Energy GHG Emissions in the Asia-Pacific Region

global LNG demand hit all-time record high in 2023

Another academic study conducted various LCAs on the net impact of LNG imports on GHG emissions for the power sector in countries across the Asia-Pacific region.

Under three different scenarios, the study showed that significant emissions reductions could be achieved in India, China, and Taiwan, in addition to less significant GHG decreases in South Korea and Japan [3].

#4 - Canadian LNG Projects Have the Lowest Emissions Intensities

displacing Asian coal power with Canadian LNG could induce emissions reductions equivalent to removing 41 million cars off the road, or all cars in Canada

In a world increasingly focused on sustainability and the environment, it is ideal to have as much of the global LNG supply come from the most sustainable producers.

Look no further than Canada’s world-class projects. Canadian-made LNG export facilities will have exceptionally low emissions intensities versus the global average of 0.35 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per tonne of LNG produced [4]. For example:

  • Cedar LNG’s emissions intensity is projected to be just 0.08 CO2e/tonne of LNG produced – less than one-third the global average [5]
  • Woodfibre LNG’s emissions intensity is expected to be even lower, at 0.04 CO2e/tonne of LNG produced – less than one-sixth the global average [6]
  • LNG Canada Phase 1 is projected to be less than half the global average, at 0.15 CO2e/tonne of LNG produced [7]
  • Ksi Lisims LNG, an Indigenous-led project in Nisga’a Nation territory in northern B.C., has said it will operate as net zero within three years of its first shipment [8]

#5 - Shorter Transportation Times = Less Emissions

Cedar LNG in British Columbia will operate with an emissions intensity that is less than one-third the global average

Canada’s LNG projects, particularly those in British Columbia, are closer to energy-hungry nations such as Japan, China, and South Korea, the world’s top three LNG importers. For example, comparing shipping distances to Asia [9]:

  • Canada – 7,300 kilometres
  • Qatar – 11,700 kilometres
  • S. Gulf Coast – 17,100 kilometres

LNG supply from Canada’s west coast emits less emissions during transportation than other suppliers such as Mozambique, Qatar, Mexico, and the United States [10].

If we’re going to talk about reducing global emissions, we should also be considering transportation distances from sources of supply to the top global buyers, namely Southeast Asia, which is projected to account for 70 per cent of LNG demand growth globally through 2040 [11].

#6 - Efficiency of Liquefying Natural Gas in a Colder Climate

Woodfibre LNG in British Columbia will operate with an emissions intensity that is less than one-sixth the global average

Natural gas liquefaction in more frigid climates is much easier, a.k.a. less energy-intensive than in hot regions. In Kitimat, British Columbia, for example, the location of LNG Canada, the average temperature is 7 degrees Celsius, whereas in Corpus Christi, Texas, it averages 22 degrees Celsius, and 28 degrees Celsius for Darwin, Australia [4].

In addition, in-land natural gas transportation and liquefaction performance are much more efficient in the cold Canadian winter, when global market demand increases.

All around, the environmental efficiencies associated with sourcing natural gas and liquefying it amid a colder climate are clear.

#7 – Sustainable, Reliable Supply Chains

LNG Canada in British Columbia will operate with an emissions intensity that is less than half the global average

Canada’s responsible energy sector has long been viewed as a master class in producing oil and natural gas sustainably while mitigating as much environmental impacts as possible.

A great example of Canada’s commitment to protecting the environment includes its world-class record on methane emissions. Apart from committing to a 75% reduction in methane emissions from oil and gas production by 2030, Canada’s industry has already reduced gas flaring emissions by 48% between 2014 and 2021, even as the country’s oil production grew 9% and natural gas production increased 16% over the same time period [12].

This is just one of several examples of why Canadian-made natural gas is the best choice of supply for the world’s growing energy needs. With global LNG demand projected to grow rapidly over the next several years, it only makes sense for as much of the world’s future supply to come from the most environmentally responsible producers, like Canada.

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1 - https://chamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Canada_and_Global_Energy_Security_March_2023.pdf

2 - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652620307484

3 - https://nsadvocate.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/LifeCycle-LNG-Env-Sci-Tech-524-1735-1746-for-Ken.pdf

4 – https://www.oxfordenergy.org/publications/canadian-lng-competitiveness/

5 – https://www.canadianenergycentre.ca/countdown-on-to-cedar-lng-regulatory-decision/

6 – https://www.canadianenergycentre.ca/woodfibre-lng-essentially-assured-to-go-ahead-with-enbridge-investment/

7 – https://a9w7k6q9.stackpathcdn.com/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Canadian-LNG-Competitiveness-NG-156.pdf

8 – https://www.ksilisimslng.com/project

9 – https://www.bcg.com/publications/2024/seizing-canadian-liquified-natural-gas-opportunity

10 - https://www.canadianenergycentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/WM-CEC-Role-of-Canadian-LNG-in-Asia-Public-Report.pdf

11 - https://www.shell.com/what-we-do/oil-and-natural-gas/liquefied-natural-gas-lng/lng-outlook-2024.html

12 - https://www.canadianenergycentre.ca/50-facts-about-oil-and-gas-a-summary-research-brief