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The first question went to the potential negatives associated with the drop in crude oil prices.

Mr. Keane does not see that as having a long-term derailing impact on the development of the industry in this province.

“These very large companies are not going to make long-term economic decisions based the spot prices of crude oil,” says Keane. “Whether it’s $57.00 or $120.00, they’re going to be making their long-term economic forecasts or investments based on what they see as the real price of crude oil 20 or 30 years from now.”

We also raised the recent report by Moody’s Investors Service suggesting the B.C. government has an overly optimistic goal of having three west-coast LNG plants operational by 2020, and the counter argument of the CEO of the Pacific Northwest LNG consortium.

Not surprisingly Mr. Keane agrees with Michael Culbert that lower oil and gas prices have actually improved the economics for project development, and he touched on what he sees as the price drop’s silver lining.

“I think the big contractors are looking for ways that they can sustain work, so they’re getting more competitive in terms of their bid. Price of steel I think is coming down so that’s good for pipeline construction; it’s good for the facilities itself,” Keane goes on to explain. “And of course one of the big concerns that we had as an industry was to labour, and I think the low oil prices is brining up some of the workers that would normally go from British Columbia to the oil sands.”

“So they will be available to help build this industry once we get to a final investment decision.”

Some people have also raised concern that an LNG industry would prevent the province from attaining its 2020 goal of a 33 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Keane disagrees, and while he expressed confidence the goal will be met, he also took time to expand upon the Premier’s initiative encouraging critics to think globally.

“If we can supply British Columbia natural gas to China and replace coal fire generation with natural gas fire generation, we can reduce CO2 emissions by up to about 45 to 50 per cent – so there’s a huge benefit in terms of reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions” says Keane. “We have to remember, we all breathe the same air; we live in a closed-loop system.”

“Having said that, we do recognize that individual greenhouse gas emissions from the facilities are going to increase the overall greenhouse gas production.”

Keane says as an industry alliance, the plan to address this concern is buy purchasing carbon offsets.

“We’ll be not only paying our carbon tax of $30.00 per tonne, but we will also be purchasing carbon offsets.”

Finally, we asked Keane if the industry has been having conversations with the province in regard to the impact this type of development will have on local infrastructure.

“I think that’s a very good question – it’s one that we are looking at,” Keane concludes. “The issue around infrastructure and how it gets developed…is something that we are looking at, and we recognize the pressures that are going to be placed on the northeast.”

“It’s something that is on our list of things to focus on and get done.”

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