Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Canada squandering LNG export opportunities: EY

In the time Canada took to build one LNG plant, the U.S. built seven, approved 20
LNG Canada CEO Jason Klein at LNG terminal project in Kitimat.

The race is on to supply the world with natural gas, but despite having an abundance of it, Canada is squandering its chances to be a major supplier through LNG exports.

That is one of the messages Lance Mortlock, managing partner of energy and mining in Canada for EY, has for Canadians.

Mortlock, who was among the speakers at the Canada Gas and Exhibition Conference today, told BIV News that Canada needs to address its regulatory problems, if it ever hopes to compete with other LNG players, like the U.S.

“This could be huge for us if we choose it to be,” Mortlock said. “It’s incumbent on us not to squander the potentially massive economic impact of LNG for future generations of Canadians and First Nations.

“But it’s more than just economics. Europe urgently needs our gas, since they reduced their reliance and dependency on a Russian aggressor.”

Energy security has become a major concern in Europe, thanks to the war in Ukraine, which has resulted in the loss of huge amounts of natural gas in Europe and the increased use of coal power. There are major opportunities for Canadian gas to help address Europe’s energy needs, Mortlock said.

Despite a sharp decline of natural gas exports from Russia since its war with Ukraine, Russia still supplies 20 per cent of Europe's natural gas, Mortlock said.

“Why aren’t we displacing those gas exports with clean Canadian gas?” he asked.

Canadian LNG projects face a huge disadvantage, compared to the U.S., when it comes to regulatory approvals, he said.

“LNG projects in Canada take roughly 19 months more to gain approval, compared to the U.S.

“We had 18 LNG export facility projects being proposed in Canada since 2011, and we’re finally close to seeing one of those projects – LNG Canada – reach completion nearly 14 years later. The U.S., during a similar period, has built seven, and approved 20 LNG facility projects between 2014 and 2020."

To serve Europe, LNG projects would need to be built on the East Coast. Several East Coast LNG projects have been proposed, but they have faced such regulatory inertia and political indifference that the only hope they may have of ever being approved is if there is a change of government in Ottawa, Mortlock suggested.

“I do not think we are going to see a change unless there is a change in government,” he said. “Our current government has said there is no business case for LNG.

“We’ve had the Greeks here, we’ve had the Italians here, I think we’ve had the Germans here, we’ve had the Polish here, all saying, ‘Look, we want Canadian gas.’ And every time we’re turning them away with ‘there’s no business case’ or we have something else to offer that is actually not what you’re asking for.”

[email protected]