Domestic natural gas use will have to be reduced to make up for emissions from LNG exports if the province is to come close to meeting its greenhouse gas reduction targets. (Black Press files)

B.C. VIEWS: LNG breakthrough likely means higher heating bills

Rest of the province will have to tighten its carbon belt

B.C.’s long-awaited breakthrough on liquefied natural gas exports is being celebrated from Kitimat to Kimberley, as the province finally appears to have broken through the protest wall to get a petroleum product shipped somewhere besides the United States.

I’ll spare you the political sniping and credit-taking that surrounded investor approval of the $40 billion LNG Canada project, which as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn’t stop saying, is the largest private-sector investment in Canadian history.

Instead, here are some things you should know about LNG and B.C. natural gas.

First, how bad is the situation for one of B.C.’s core resource industries without an export window?

The hydraulic fracturing refinements that produced a new shale oil and gas boom in North America created such a glut south of the border that the U.S. has converted LNG import terminals to export gas to Asia.

The U.S. has run laps around poor, confused Canada, while its misguided environmental foundations hire protesters to jam up everything Canada tries to do to end their monopoly on the North American market.

B.C. has some of the most productive shale gas basins in the world, and these days they’re not just giving it away for less than a buck a gigajoule, occasionally they’re actually paying to ship it. B.C.’s daily spot gas price is determined at the “AECO Hub,” a storage facility in southern Alberta, and there have been times in the last couple of years when the price has been negative.

If you have a gas bill from FortisBC, you may have noticed that since B.C. increased its carbon tax in April, they have to charge you more for the tax than they do for the gas. (FortisBC has no control over this, by the way.)

Another dire statistic, provided in a government LNG briefing along with last week’s blockbuster announcement.

While B.C.’s Lower Mainland population has surged 24 per cent since 2001, the population of the North Coast Nechako region has declined by 19 per cent.

The good news for B.C. is its northeast Montney shale gas is not only low in carbon dioxide, a pipeline across the Rockies to Kitimat allows an LNG tanker to reach Asia in about eight days.

That compares favourably to more than 20 days from the U.S. Gulf Coast, the massive petroleum complex that seems to keep growing without a peep of protest.

Here in Victoria, we await the NDP government’s new climate action plan, which will somehow accommodate the greenhouse gas emissions of LNG Canada operations, a large increase in gas production to feed the export facility, and still meet the ambitious targets that the previous government committed to in Paris in 2015.

That’s a 40 per cent reduction by 2030, 60 per cent by 2040 and 80 per cent by 2050.

This is of course the latest of a long series of grandiose “fight climate change” targets that have crashed and burned around the world, going back to the days when Canada’s environment minister named his dog Kyoto.

Here’s Premier John Horgan’s LNG pitch, from what I have gathered so far.

You’ll probably have to trade in your gas furnace for a nice new heat pump that runs on increasingly costly electricity, so people in Korea and China can use our gas and reduce their dependence on coal.

And check out those electric and hydrogen cars, subsidies are going up along with carbon taxes.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

Nelson-area man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

COLUMN: The People’s Party of Canada arrives in the Kootenays

‘The Conservative Party of Canada walked away from us,’ says organizer of Kootenay-Columbia and South Okanagan-West Kootenay riding associations

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of B.C. couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

France shooter killed Thursday during police operation

7 more being held by police in shooting investigation

Shootout loss for Canada West against Czech Republic

Team Canada West now looking forward to semifinal game

Most Read