Exploring the Transformative Potential of LNG for Canada

Businesses and communities in Canada are awaking to the economic potential that a robust Canadian liquefied natural gas sector can deliver the country.

The story of LNG in Canada is about the extension of Canadian natural gas as a key source of economic growth.  It is about helping to meet global energy demand, reduce air pollution and assist in meeting carbon dioxide emission reduction targets in an era of dramatic technological transformation in the way energy is consumed.

“The story of LNG in Canada is about the extension of Canadian natural gas as a key source of economic growth.”

As the single largest private-sector infrastructure project in Canadian history, the $40-billion LNG Canada project will make a huge contribution to provincial economies and national prosperity. LNG Canada along with its partners — Royal Dutch Shell PLC, PETRONAS Energy Canada, PetroChina, Mitsubishi Corporation and Korea Gas Corporation — recently made a final investment decision (FID) and approved the construction of the LNG the export facility in Kitimat, B.C.  While that plan unfolds to serve Asian markets, in Eastern Canada Pieridae Energy’s 1.3 bcf/d Goldboro LNG project in Nova Scotia is showing all the signs of a project on the path to securing a positive FID.

Shell estimates that global LNG trade will rise 11 per cent to 354 million tonnes this year as new facilities increase supplies to Europe and Asia, according to a recent Reuters report. Shell is the largest buyer and seller of LNG in the world. It noted that trade rose by 27 million tonnes last year, with Chinese demand growth accounting for nearly 60% of that increase.

“According to analysts at Evaluate Energy, 21 countries currently export LNG.”

According to analysts at Evaluate Energy, 21 countries currently export LNG. Global production capacity is just under 53 bcf/d. This figure represents around 15 per cent of global natural gas consumption in 2017. The world’s largest individual producing country is currently Qatar, while various recent developments have seen major capacity increases in Russia and the United States.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects demand for natural gas to steadily grow – on average 1.6 per cent per year – reaching just over 4,100 billion cubic metres (bcm) in 2023, up from 3,740 bcm in 2017.  Approximately 40 per cent of the increase in natural gas use will come from China where a combination of population growth and a long-term strategy to clean energy are driving factors.

A key related narrative is therefore that Canada has the potential to help some of the world’s highest polluters reduce their use of coal. “LNG can have the greatest impact and greatest contribution to resolving the climate change problem and that should really be Canada’s main contribution because it can offset effectively higher intensity fuels,” Tristan Goodman, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada (EPAC), told the Daily Oil Bulletin recently.

“The brand is there. The only issue that I am worried about on the branding is it still has to be competitive. Nobody is going to buy our product if it is more expensive because of regulatory burden or uncertainty in getting it to a coast where you can export, whether  it is the East or West coast.”

“Canada has the potential to help some of the world’s highest polluters reduce their use of coal.”

When you look at the full life cycle emissions, you can see that LNG produced in B.C. will have significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions per tonne than other places, Susannah Pierce, external affairs director for LNG Canada, told the Daily Oil Bulletin in February. The average LNG facility globally emits between .26 to .35 tonnes of greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalent) per tonne of LNG produced, while the LNG Canada facility is being designed to achieve levels of 0.15 tonnes of greenhouse gases per tonne of LNG produced, said Pierce.

It’s a very positive message for Canada.

Thanks to a recent grant from the Government of Alberta, that message is being shared in Canada as well as Europe and Asia. The Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources (CSUR) will roll out a variety of initiatives designed to raise Alberta’s LNG profile both domestically and internationally, noted CSUR president Dan Allan.

“It’s important CSUR helps define the important role Alberta has in shaping a pan-Canadian LNG strategy,” said Allan. “This represents a key opportunity to kick Canada’s natural gas sector back into high gear over the long-term. A large majority of our members are gas producers and they urgently require a robust LNG industry to allow for market diversification.”

In turn, CSUR will work with JWN Energy (owners of the Daily Oil Bulletin and Evaluate Energy) as part of the larger communication and branding strategy. CSUR and JWN have collaborated on similar initiatives previously, including an LNG Guidebook and Directory in 2014 when the sector first started to build momentum, added Allan.

“It’s a very positive message for Canada.”

The program will include events and workshops designed to help participants understand the global opportunities associated with LNG. “We will be designing the program not only to appeal to the energy sector, but also all parts of the business community affected by a healthy natural gas economy…at the same time, we will be communicating globally in a way that signals to the world that Alberta and Canada intend to be significant players internationally as we move beyond our traditional North American markets.”

Paul Harris leads JWN Energy’s editorial and marketing operations in Calgary and London, England. He can be reached at [email protected]. Additional information can be found at www.dailyoilbulletin.com and www.evaluateenergy.com.