The B.C. government will host the first international conference on the liquefied natural gas industry in February. But even as the government gears up to promote the industry in B.C., opponents are ramping up anti-LNG efforts.
The two-day conference, Fuelling the Future: Global Opportunities for LNG in BC, will be held at the Vancouver Convention Centre on February 25 and 26.
It will include LNG proponents, like Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA), First Nations, municipal governments and potential international LNG customers.
A series of panel discussions will cover topics like skilled labour needs and global markets. The government expects a gas industry labour outlook to be completed prior to the conference.
“Developing new markets for B.C.'s abundant natural gas supplies holds tremendous promise for the province,” Doug Bloom, president of Spectra Energy Transmission West, said in a press release. “It will help drive continued investment in finding and producing natural gas, create jobs, and help secure B.C.'s position as an energy leader."
The B.C. government is banking on three new LNG plants to generate $1 billion in additional revenue annually and create 9,000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs. It estimates that five LNG plants would generate $1 trillion to the B.C. economy over 30 years.
But Peter Tzerzakian, one of Canada’s most cited energy economists, has opined that only two LNG plants are likely to be built in B.C. by proponents that are able to secure 20-year contracts with buyers in Asia.
Environmental groups like the David Suzuki Foundation say the energy inputs and emissions from the shale gas and LNG industries would more than cancel out any environmental benefits that would derive from selling LNG to countries that currently rely heavily on coal for power generation.
There are also concerns about the amount of water used to extract shale gas through hydraulic fracturing.
The Fort Nelson First Nation has launched an online petition that has already garnered more than 23,000 signatures. It calls on the B.C. government to put a moratorium on new water licences.
There are currently 20 water licence applications under review. The Fort Nelson First Nation claims Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA) has applied to extract three billion litres of water per year from the Fort Nelson River.