Tag Archives: Canada

National Energy Board approves four more LNG licenses in British Columbia – no time to waste

Four more proposed liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) projects in British Columbia have received approvals for export licences from the National Energy Board, bringing the total number of licenced projects to seven. Three of the four projects have major backers and include These four projects include: BG Group’s Prince Rupert LNG Exports Ltd., the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG Ltd. and Exxon Mobil Corp.’s West Coast Canada LNG Ltd. The fourth project is a smaller venture called Woodfibre LNG Export, planned for the Squamish area north of Vancouver. The NEB is reportedly reviewing an additional four applications on top of these seven granted licences.

None of the approved projects, however, are in the terminal construction stage because the proponents say they first need to learn details of the B.C. government’s plans for taxation of the LNG industry and internal assessments still must be conducted on the economics of proceeding.

Apparently none of the approved projects are in the construction stage. One of the reasons construction has not started is that the various proponents need to understand the BC governments taxation plans for the LNG industry. With the NEB doing their part the BC government can ill afford to delay the process as perhaps the entire Canadian natural gas industry is in jeopardy.

Just the day before the NEB announced their license approvals, the Energy Information Administration released their Annual Energy Outlook that forecasts the frack induced boom in natural gas and oil production will continue through to 2040. Natural gas production is forecast to rise a staggering 56% from 2012 to 2040 and will reach 37.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and the report also predicts that the U.S. surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest oil-producer in 2015. Truly an amazing turn of events. So it is quite clear that the U.S. will not be needing Canadian natural gas any time soon, and Canada better move fast to save the Canadian natural gas industry.

If Canadians want to retain the billions of dollars generated and the thousand of jobs created by the Canadian natural gas industry, it is absolutely imperative that the pipelines to carry gas to the BC coast, and LNG facilities to process it for export must be approved and built as soon as possible. There is no time to waste. The U.S. once our largest customer is now our largest competitor and will not revert back to being a customer till at sometime after 2040. By 2040, a robust global LNG distribution network will be in place making LNG distribution worldwide efficient and cost effective. In order for Canada to compete effectively it is apparent a domestic distribution system that plugs into the global network must be in place.

While Ottawa reviews the licenses, BC debates tax schemes, and Canadians debate about pipelines and LNG distribution systems, other countries around the world are building out their distribution facilities and moving forward in being first to market, and first to service the energy hungry markets in Asia. The opportunity is there for Canada to seize but there is no time to waste.

Update: Today, the Northern Gateway Pipeline review will be released.

Read more @ The Globe & Mail: NEB Approves four more LNG license in BC, but await Ottawa’s blessing

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The geographic proliferation of shale gas and tight oil is inevitable

This article in the Globe & Mail is worth a quick read. Though the proliferation of technologies for shale gas and tight oil will spread around the world, it take more then just technology to make the process of extracting these resources work. Mainly, water. For example, China may have more shale gas then that found in all of the USA, but its in the dry arid eastern regions where water is scarce. But with time, this too is changing with the evolution of new technologies that recover and recycle 99% of the fluids used in the fracking process. Time will tell but history has shown that opportunities are created by providing solutions to problems.

The geographic proliferation of shale gas and tight oil is inevitable

Globe & Mail (Source) This question keeps getting repeated: “Will shale gas and tight oil technologies proliferate beyond North America?”

Of course they will. There is no precedent for game-changing innovations in any business to respect territorial boundaries. So some remaining questions are, under what conditions will shale gas and tight oil be developed in other countries, how long will it take, and where first?

With respect to necessary conditions, it seems Texas has the right stuff. At a major conference in Dallas last week, a few thousand exuberant U.S. oil and gas executives were gushing over recent production growth from unconventional resources. North Dakota’s Bakken seems like yesterday’s news as attention now shines on the productive oil potential of the legendary Texas Permian Basin.

The stock, U.S. oil man’s answer to what drives such domestic exploration frenzy is the American principle of landowners’ mineral rights – if you own the land on the surface you also have title to the oil and gas beneath your feet. This alignment of financial interests between private landowners and oil companies lubricates the wheels of capitalism like nowhere else. Ergo, the converse argument goes, we are unlikely to see meaningful shale gas or tight oil development in other parts of the world, where no such subsurface benefits accrue to the landowner. But there are flaws in this line of thinking.

Read more.

How important is natural gas to hydrogen powered cars?

mercedesbenz_bclass_fcell

Mercedes Benz B Class F-Cell Hydrogen Car

Hydrogen cars are coming. Over the years, the promise of hydrogen has been touted as the ultimate solution for clean affordable power.  Billions of dollars were invested only to see hydrogen give up the spotlight to electric and hybrid vehicles. But wait. Hydrogen is not dead. While everyone was showing off their latest plug-in electric prototype at the recent Frankfurt Auto Show, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche surprised many when he stated that hydrogen fuel cells, not batteries are the ultimate way to move beyond oil.

“The chances further down the road seem to me better on the fuel-cell side than on the battery-electric side.” stated Zetsche.

Zetsche went on to tell reporters that  hydrogen beats electric batteries at moving cars long distances without refueling. Hydrogen can also power big, roomy sedans much more readily than batteries.

How does this all related to natural gas? Well, there are no hydrogen cars being commercially built and available at your local dealer for a few years yet. However, natural gas vehicles are here today.

How this all relates to natural gas is in the distribution. Natural gas is proven, abundant and affordable. Yet in Canada there is only ~11,500 natural gas vehicles on the road while in the US there are only about ~150,000. One of the stated reasons is the lack of fill stations (distribution) for natural gas in North America. While every single car manufacturer has natural gas cars available outside North America, none of them offer a natural gas option in Canada. Governments at all levels need to expand incentives to increase the number of natural gas vehicles in Canada and mandate all car manufacturers to make natural gas models readily available in Canada today.

Canada, and more specifically the Province of British Columbia, have a great opportunity to be a leader in reducing carbon emissions and regaining its leadership role in hydrogen technologies by creating the necessary incentives to get a strategic natural gas distribution system in place. You see, this distribution system could be immediately available for natural gas distribution and subsequently used for hydrogen distribution. A distribution system that would take us through the “bridge” period of natural gas to a future with hydrogen powered vehicles.

Distribution is key to natural gas vehicles, and it will be for hydrogen vehicles. Building a strategic distribution system for natural gas will serve both and be critical to make natural gas and hydrogen successful.

Mr. Campbell – Invest in Horn River!

Contemplating the current economic recession we are in both federal and provincial governments are planning defecit budgets for at least the next two years. By the time half this money gets into the system we will likely start to see the economy turning around (but that’s another debate). Spending on needed infrastructure is a positive move. The infrastructure across north america including many roads and bridges are near or past their life span. However, investment into new infrastructure that addresses the future power needs of north america is also very important.

Northern British Columbia is home to some of the largest shale gas reserves in North America. However, there is limited access with poor roads and infrastructure to most of the remote areas where the shale gas exists. There is also a lack of pipeline infrastructure. Both the federal and provincial governments should consider various tax driven plans and incentives to encourage more development into BC’s northern shale gas. With a multibillion dollar windfall from land lease sales over the last year or more, the BC government should be sinking this money back into needed infrastructure.

Encana is building a multibillion dollar gas plant near Fort Nelson which will fill part of the needed infrastructure and bring thousands of jobs over the coming years. The BC government could create more jobs by building and expanding the road infrascructure along side the private investments being made. The size of the opportunity in Fort Nelson is comparable to the oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a massive economic boost to Alberta’s economy. However, comparitive to oil sands shale gas has a much smaller carbon footprint to develope and produce, and is certainly much cleaner burning then gasoline.