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A new $40-billion investment in a fossil fuel plant in B.C. is expected to be formally announced this week, according to reports.
Owned by LNG Canada, a joint venture that includes Royal Dutch Shell, Petronas, Mitsubishi Corporation, Petrochina and Korea Gas Corporation, the liquefied natural gas project is expected to be built in the Kitimat area and would be the largest infrastructure development in the province's history. Liquefied natural gas is gas that has been compressed to be transported.
Industry leaders suggest the project's realization could usher in further investments in more natural gas plants in the region. A final investment decision on the plant is also expected to trigger the start of construction on partner TransCanada's Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek, B.C. area to the west coast.
John Horgan's government has been starkly opposed to the bitumen-carrying Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. But the premier appears to be more optimistic about the financial gains that LNG Canada could provide.
“We’ll see what LNG Canada does, but should they proceed with the final investment decisions, it will be certainly significant for our province,” he told Global News on Sept. 26. “It will allow more revenues to come to the Crown to be distributed throughout the province to the people who need services. [It will] help health care, housing, you name it. So it’s definitely going to be good news for British Columbia should they proceed.”
NDP support for the pipeline could divide the ruling NDP and the B.C. Greens, whose support Horgan needs to maintain government.
Green Leader Andrew Weaver has said it will be impossible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050 if LNG is built.
Weaver declined to comment on this article before the investment is officially announced.
Calls to Shell, the B.C. NDP and the mayor of Kitimat were not returned.
Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director of the Pembina Institute, a Canadian sustainable energy think-tank, told National Observer the B.C. government must reconcile LNG’s carbon pollution with the province’s climate goals in their strategy plan.
“Without this, the LNG Canada project would take B.C. in the wrong direction. Natural gas is already B.C.’s biggest source of industrial carbon pollution. Indeed, the gas sector has a methane leak problem,” she wrote in an email.