By David Keane
John, thank you for your kind words and the opportunity to speak today to the Prince Rupert Chamber of Commerce.
I am delighted to be joining you, along with the panelists who will be speaking shortly about the challenges and opportunities of operating a small business.
But, before I begin, I want to thank the Coast Tsimshian for allowing me to enter their traditional lands.
As any of you know, it was just last month when we officially launched the BC LNG Alliance in Terrace. And, I was overwhelmed by the support the Alliance received from First Nation’s and community leaders. It was truly amazing!
I must say, it’s great to be back in the North. Yesterday, I attended the province’s LNG seminar that was held here in Prince Rupert, and I had the opportunity to meet a number of people who are very interested in the LNG industry.
In the next few minutes I want to tell you why we, the BC LNG Alliance, see LNG as a rare opportunity that presents all British Columbians with a tremendous upside, if we get it right.
But first, I would like to tell you about the Alliance.
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, environmentally and socially responsible LNG industry in BC that is globally competitive.
An industry, that British Columbians can be proud of.
When we introduced the Alliance in Terrace last month we had six members. They included:
- Kitimat LNG,
- Which is a partnership between Chevron Canada and Apache Canada
- LNG Canada
- Whose partners are Shell Canada, PetroChina, KOGAS and Mitsubishi
- Pacific Northwest LNG,
- Which is PETRONAS, JAPEX, Indian Oil Corporation, Sinopec and PetroleumBRUNEI
- Prince Rupert LNG, which is being proposed by BG Group,
- Triton LNG – a partnership between AltaGas and Idemitsu Canada, and
- British Columbia based Woodfibre LNG.
Today however, the Alliance is very pleased to announce that we have added a new, seventh, member and that member is:
- ExxonMobil – who is one of the world’s leading corporations has been granted an export license by the National Energy Board and has an option to lease a site on Tuck Inlet.
The Alliance is made up of LNG industry leaders who bring decades of experience, insight and best practices to British Columbia.
They also bring to BC an abiding commitment to safety, environmental stewardship, community engagement and investment.
The projects proposed by our members will constitute the largest investment ever seen in this province.
For example, if just one of the larger LNG projects goes forward it will create more investment in BC than the combined investment of the new Port Mann Bridge, the Canada Skytrain line, the new Vancouver convention center and the upgrade of BC Place.
And importantly, investments made by our members, and the jobs and spin offs they will create, will have a very positive and beneficial effect on communities throughout northern BC and indeed throughout the entire province and Canada.
However, as I have said before, there are challenges.
From financing, to engineering, to skills training, there are many moving parts when it comes to building a new LNG industry.
It’s a complex endeavour requiring cooperation on many fronts, including the federal, provincial, First Nations, and municipal governments, labour and educational institutions.
Since our launch, we have seen the introduction of the LNG tax and GHG legislation. And, while our members appreciate the government re-visiting its original tax structure we still need certainty and clarity on how these two critical pieces of legislation will be implemented.
For these LNG projects to be viable we need to strike the right balance that enables British Columbians to get fair value for the sale of their natural resources, while at the same time recognizing the enormous technical and financial challenges of very large and complex projects with significant risks.
Our members will not only be paying the LNG and carbon tax, but will also have to purchase carbon offsets, as well as paying royalties, PST, GST, payroll, municipal taxes and corporate income taxes.
However, if we strike the right balance, we CAN be competitive and build a safe, sustainable and globally competitive industry right here in BC.
The impact of striking the right balance will provide British Columbians with opportunities and benefits for decades to come
Additionally, the benefits of liquefying and exporting BC natural gas will not only be felt locally, but globally as well. Asia’s economies will continue to grow dramatically over the next half century, and to fuel their growth they will require clean energy.
Natural gas, as you may know, is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, and when it displaces coal it can reduce GHG emissions by up to 45 percent.
There is no doubt the LNG industry in BC can provide tremendous economic as well as environmental benefits.
And, when the plants are operational they will provide billions of dollars in new revenue to all levels of government.
But, to get there we all need to work together.
We know British Columbians not only want to see environmental protection, and we also know they want jobs and a strong economy.
By finding the right balance, we can take advantage of a rare opportunity and build a new industry that will benefit British Columbians for generations to come.