The BC LNG Alliance came together to serve as the common voice for the province’s leading LNG project proponents. Our mandate is to foster the growth of a safe and environmentally responsible LNG industry in BC that is globally competitive. Our role is to provide British Columbians with reliable information on LNG, our operations and best practices, and the challenges and opportunities we face as an industry.
Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is natural gas in its liquid form. When natural gas is cooled to minus 162 degrees Celsius, it becomes a clear, colorless, odorless liquid. LNG is neither corrosive nor toxic. The process reduces its volume by more than 600 times – similar to reducing the volume of a beach ball to the volume of a ping-pong ball. This allows natural gas to be transported efficiently by sea. Once BC LNG reaches market, LNG vessels are unloaded at import terminals where its warmed back to natural gas and then sent through pipelines for distribution to residential, commercial and industrial sectors for purposes as diverse as heating and cooling homes, cooking, generating electricity and manufacturing paper, metal, and glass, among many others. LNG is also increasingly being used to fuel heavy-duty vehicles.
Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel and is being used throughout the world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. LNG is odorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. When exposed to the environment, LNG rapidly evaporates, leaving no residue on water or soil. If spilled, LNG would not result in a slick because 100 percent of it evaporates to a gas leaving no residue behind.
Exporting B.C.’s natural gas is nothing new; it was first transported via Vancouver to the U.S. in 1957 and the U.S. has remained our main market ever since. But with the U.S. producing more of its own gas it now makes sense to sell our surplus overseas where there’s a demand. The only difference is that the gas must be converted into a liquid so it can be shipped. That’s why B.C. is developing a new industry to produce LNG.
Natural gas is the single largest form of energy used in Canadian homes, with over 6 million homeowners using natural gas to heat their homes and their water. Canadian homes are also enjoying the benefits of increasingly efficient natural gas furnaces and appliances. Natural gas has been a part of Canada’s energy mix since it was first discovered in New Brunswick in 1859. Today about 30 percent of Canada’s entire energy needs are met by natural gas.
Hydraulic fracturing has been occurring safely in BC since the 1950’s. It is a process where water, sand, and small amounts of chemicals are pumped down a well under pressure. The pressure causes the rock to fracture, creating small fissures that allow the natural gas to flow safely through a cement-lined wellbore to the surface. Shale and tight gas reservoirs are found 2000 to 3000 meters below the ground. As a comparison, the CN Tower in Toronto is 550 meters. More than 175,000 wells have been fractured safely in Western Canada over the last 60 years.
LNG is transported to international markets by insulated, double-hulled ships that carry 125,000 to 215,000 cubic metres of LNG. That’s enough energy to power a city the size of Vancouver for about a week. LNG carriers have double hulls and primary and secondary cargo containment systems. Proven on-board safety systems include gas detection and low temperature monitoring, heat and fire detection, and emergency response systems. Other standard navigation safety features include global positioning equipment, global maritime distress systems, and ship-to-shore communications.
LNG has one of the best shipping record of any industry, with over 50 years without any significant incident resulting in a loss of cargo at sear or in port. There are currently close to 400 LNG carriers in operation around the world, and over 80,000 LNG cargo delivered since 1964 without a single cargo lost.
LNG is processed natural gas. This gas comes, primarily, from the northeast corner of British Columbia. Some of the world’s most promising areas for natural gas extraction are found in B.C. – in places like the Horn River Basin and the Montney Basin.
British Columbia’s natural gas potential is estimated at over 2,000 trillion cubic feet. To put it in perspective, each year industry extracts about 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Based on the amount of gas industry is able to recover and increased activity, B.C. has over 150 years worth of natural gas supply, enough to meet local needs and help meet global demand.
LNG has the potential to provide thousands of jobs and billions in revenue for decades to come. For example a mid-size LNG plant would create 4500 construction jobs and upon completion 400 full time operating jobs. 3 billion dollars would be spent on goods and services during the construction phase alone. The industry will also contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to help pay for health care, roads, education and social services. BC LNG Alliance members are committed to hiring British Columbians first and then look at other Canadians. If there is a genuine need, we will look outside of Canada for workers.
The majority of the world’s LNG supply comes from countries with large natural gas reserves. These countries include Algeria, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, and Trinidad and Tobago.
LNG is a new industry in B.C.
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