A new report by environmental group Tides Canada alleges that B.C.’s proposed liquefied natural gas plants will emit more carbon dioxide than previously thought, refuting Premier Christy Clark’s claim earlier this year in the BC Liberals' election platform that B.C's LNG facilities will be "the cleanest in the world."
The report, entitled "The Cleanest LNG in the World?," concludes that B.C.’s proposed refineries will produce about three times more carbon dioxide per tonne of LNG than the world’s leading facilities in Australia and Norway.
According to Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada, comparable foreign plants are using carbon capture and electric drive technology to significantly reduce emissions, while B.C.’s refineries will use LNG as a power source for the plants.
Merran says it’s still possible to minimize carbon emissions, as none of B.C.’s proposed have been built.
"We can do it. These technologies exist, they’re being employed elsewhere. They’re being employed in plants that are being built today," she says.
"And so, B.C., we need to step up to the plate."
Rich Coleman, minister of natural gas development, doesn't agree with the report's conclusions. He says the nature of B.C.'s natural gas and the province's proximity to export markets will keep carbon emissions minimal.
"Our gas comes out of the ground cooler than anywhere else in the world so it takes less energy to liquefy," he says.
"We are also closer to Asia so it takes less time to liquefy."
The release of the report coincides with the provincial government's announcement that it is offering $116 million in royalties to resource development companies for infrastructure projects in northeastern B.C.
The new royalties are meant to jump start construction on new plants, as some industry experts fear B.C. might miss out on record demand for LNG from Asian markets.
At a summit of stakeholders today in Vancouver, LNG industry leader and energy consultant Ed Kallio told the audience that the success of B.C.’s LNG plan depends on being up and running by 2020.