Work to be done before benefits reaped by proposed LNG industry, says President of B.C. LNG Alliance

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“This afternoon I’m going to address four things; who is the B.C. LNG Alliance? The future I believe B.C.’s natural gas can provide Asia, the challenges we face in developing the LNG industry, and the opportunities that are there for all of us,” Keane says during his introduction.

The B.C. LNG Alliance is a mesh of provincial government officials and multi-billion dollar companies looking to poise themselves as leaders in regional LNG development.

“Our mandate is simple: it’s to foster the growth of a safe, environmentally, and socially responsible industry in British Columbia – an LNG industry that is globally competitive and an LNG industry that British Columbians can be proud of,” explains Keane.

Members of the alliance include Kitimat LNG, LNG Canada, Pacific NorthWest LNG, Prince Rupert LNG, Triton LNG, Woodfibre LNG, and most recently Exxon Mobil LNG.

“Investments made by our members – and the jobs and spin-offs that they will create – will have a very positive and beneficial effect on communities throughout northern British Columbia, and indeed throughout the province, and throughout Canada.”

Enter the role of Asia’s natural gas industry on Canada’s economy – which essentially relies solely on imports.

“When you look at the LNG world, not all of the buyers – whether Chinese, Japanese or Korean – are going to want to put all of their supply or demand eggs in one basket,” Keane goes on to say. “They’ll want to diversify their risk, and I think British Columbia will have a significant portion of that supply base.”

Some other major LNG players include Russia, Australia and America.

Keane also points to something called “skill delusion” as a challenge facing B.C. “Skill delusion” is a situation in which a country and/or province building an industry have a misconception in regard to the amount of skilled employees available to fill open positions – a situation previously experienced in Australia.

“We’re working with the Premier’s LNG Working Group on identifying the skills that are going to be required to build these facilities,” explains Keane. “Once we’ve done that as the industry – which we’re in the process of doing now – we will sit down with the [provincial] government, and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills training, and they will then look at the data they have available in terms of the skills that are available in British Columbia.”

Keane adds, “We’ll then match those up and look at the data gaps, and then figure out how we’re going to fill those data gaps.

These gaps include how many people are required to be trained, where the training will take place, and how the training will be administered, according to Keane.

Keane also says he has another issue that needs to be addressed by the Premier’s office before the anticipated LNG industry really hits the ground running.

“In terms of the fiscal structure, we need to have more clarity and certainty around the LNG tax,” says Keane. “We know what the tax rate is but we don’t know what’s included in the tax.”

Keane gives the example of what is and is not considered deducible as a point of interest.

Mayor of Taylor Rob Fraser – who is a member of the NEBC Resource Municipalities Coalition – wrapped-up today’s event by illustrating to Keane the collation’s projected goals moving into the future.

“We’ll be trying to develop relationships with our neighbours and other industry, as well as the different levels of government, so that they understand the position we’re in, and we can provide them with as much advice as we can coming from a group of like-minded municipalities,” Mayor Fraser concludes.

The regions included in the coalition are Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Pouce Coupe, Taylor, Tumbler Ridge, and Chetwynd.

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