Fraser Institute study says BC could lose billions due to LNG export delays

The Fraser Institute is out with a new study that says the regulatory process for the LNG industry needs to be streamlined, or the province could lose up to $20 billion a year in export revenue.

Co-author Ken Green, the Institute’s senior director of Natural Resource Studies, notes regulatory delays by the Federal and Provincial Governments, along with First Nations, already means no Canadian LNG project will start production by the year 2020.

Dr. Green says what the study tried to do was put some hard numbers on what has been thus far a speculative conversation about BC missing the LNG development export window.

“What we found is the cost of delaying, essentially not being in that market – the market is worth $20 billion a year – and if you’re not in it, of course, you won’t get it.” he said.

As a result we also won’t get higher levels of job growth and billions of dollars in tax revenue, but on the other hand, if the industry moves forward, critics argue we will inherit some problems.

They list among them – increased domestic gas prices, increased air pollution at the LNG terminal sites, and especially in this area, increased drilling using the controversial fracking process.

“If you look at the major studies the big governmental-formed committee kind of studies in national laboratories, on hydraulic fracturing, pretty much all of them say the same thing: That hydraulic fracturing can be done safely with the existing technology and it’s simply a matter of having the right regulatory regime in place, to make sure things are done well.”

That noted however, Doctor Green isn’t ready to buy into the argument – LNG development would see BC replace Alberta as the heart of the Countries energy industry.

He says he thinks the chances of a 5 year depression in oil-prices is ‘relatively low.’

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