Without fracking LNG industry and benefits disappear

Liberal point-man on natural gas development makes case for burgeoning industry to Penticton business group

Carrots and sticks featured large in a presentation on liquefied natural gas given by Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier at the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce last week.

Bernier, the B.C. Liberal caucus liaison for LNG-Buy B.C., was in town to showcase opportunities for liquefied natural gas throughout the province and present the government’s new online tool to help local businesses connect with major companies building the LNG sector.

Addressing the controversial practice of fracking — injecting fluids at high-pressure into subterranean rock strata to release the gas inside — Bernier made it clear that without fracking, there would be no LNG industry, and no downstream benefits for the province.

“The only way we can get gas out of the ground is through fracking. So if you have people out there saying we should have a moratorium or stop fracking, what you are saying is we should stop the industry completely,” said Bernier.

“You can’t have one without the other.”

Bernier took a similar tactic in explaining why the LNG sector needs to be developed now, explaining there are more players coming into the market at the same time as B.C.’s traditional market for natural gas, is looking to become more self-reliant.

“The problem is we only have one market, and that is the U.S.,” said Bernier, explaining that the U.S. has announced it wants to stop buying natural gas from external sources.

“If we don’t find another place to sell our gas, our industry will cease to exist.”

On the positive side, Bernier pointed out that there is increasing demand for LNG in the world market, especially Asia.

B.C. currently produces about two billion cubic feet of gas right now, but will need to generate 10 billion to meet potential demand.

“We have been doing this for 50 years, but not of this magnitude,” said Bernier.

“That is why as a government we are out there talking with communities, talking with chambers, talking with a lot of the educational systems too saying ‘are we ready?’”

What that all adds up to is opportunities for local businesses and trades.

“We are trying to connect B.C. businesses, and this is where you come in,” said Bernier.

“We are trying to make people understand this is not just about the north.

“The north can’t do this alone.”

LNG-Buy B.C. is the province’s answer to making those connections.

“We want to make sure when it comes to a lot of the opportunities, that people are aware of what those are,” said Bernier.

Shell, Apache, Chevron, Encana and other large multinational companies are already investing, but need local people to actually do the work.

“Now all those contractors have to come in to do all the work,” said Bernier.

“We want to make sure they are all from B.C.

“It’s already happening.

“Some of these companies have already invested over $1 billion in B.C. over the last two years.

“How do we get  a piece of that pie?”

Businesses can register with LNG-Buy B.C. at engage.gov.bc.ca/lnginbc/lng-buy-bc-program.