British Columbia

B.C.'s LNG delay is U.S. and Australia's gain, says researcher

In recent throne speech B.C. government backed off its previous promises of $100 billion and 100,000 jobs

In recent throne speech, B.C. government backed off previous promises of a $100 billion fund and 100K jobs

Premier Christy Clark and her Liberals were re-elected on promises of a trillion-dollar LNG export industry that would provide 100,000 jobs and pay off the provincial debt. (AFP/Getty)

The longer the delay in liquified natural gas facilities being developed in B.C., the more likely that countries such as the United States and Australia will develop the capacity instead, says a senior researcher for various Canadian think tanks.

"The world isn't going to wait on Canada and B.C. If we can't get things done in this country, people will go and invest and build their LNG terminals elsewhere," said Philip Cross, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a public policy think tank.

Throne speech downplays LNG

The B.C. Liberals' throne speech on Feb. 9  downplayed the role of LNG development, stating that low global prices are having an impact on the government's "initial timelines."

In 2011, the government's jobs plan forecast "one LNG pipeline and terminal in operation in Kitimat by 2015 and three in operation by 2020."

Cross said the regulatory process for LNG was "drawn out" in B.C., and also said that it took some time for the province to finalize its tax and royalty regime for the industry.

"While we haven't been approaching this with a sense of urgency, other countries have been," said Cross, who is also a senior research fellow at the Resource Works Society in Vancouver.

"Australia is building terminals left and right, [and] the United States seems to be able to put these plans into effect a lot more efficiently than we are.

An artist's rendering of the proposed LNG Canada project in Kitimat, B.C. (LNG Canada/Flickr)

"All this time that we've been talking and debating and hemming and hawing about this, the U.S. has been building an LNG terminal on the Gulf Coast. Its ready to come online and there's four more like it right behind."

Christy Clark remains optimistic

A proposed LNG facility in Kitimat was put on hold earlier this month when Royal Dutch Shell announced it will postpone its final investment decision in the project.

In an interview on CBC Radio One's The House on Feb. 6, B.C. Premier Christy Clark said having Shell postpone their decision is better than making a decision to cancel their investment.

"Success isn't for quitters," Clark said.

"In order to succeed in this tough economy, we need to stick with it."

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Think tank researcher says U.S., Australia are beating B.C. when it comes to developing LNG