Report says natural gas reserves not as big as Province claims

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In its report, the CCPA says that Canada’s long-term energy security may be compromised by plans to export LNG. Of main concern, is the assertion that there will not be enough natural gas to meet these long-term needs. According to the report, the National Energy Board has approved 12 terminals with a total capacity of 251 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of LNG exports over the next 20-25 years. Yet only a small percentage of that amount, 18 tcf is available for export, even if BC triples its production.

Trying to meet these high levels of LNG exports from BC could require Canada to become a net importer of natural gas, in order to meet its domestic needs.

According to the report, the BC Oil and Gas Commission has estimated BC’s raw gas reserves to be 42.3 tcf, with a further potential marketable resource of 442 tcf. Yet the BC government has stated that the marketable resource is six times higher, with 2,900 tcf available for export. If the BC government was to realise its export target, the scale-up in drilling and associated infrastructure would be massive and dramatically alter the landscape of northeastern BC.

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Fracking is also a major public concern, states the report, not only in the amount of water required, but in the potential for contamination of surface water through surface casing failures and improper disposal of fracking wastewater.

The CCPA believes the amount and intensity of land disturbance has also been underestimated by the government, in addition to the roads, pipelines and facilities needed to develop this resource, there are potential seismic impact.

Finally, the report states that there are considerable financial risks for companies entering BC’s fledgling LNG industry. The potential for rising domestic gas prices and falling international prices, could prove disastrous when companies try to pay off their multi-billion dollar investments.

“It is highly likely that fossil fuels will be needed at some level for the foreseeable future,” read the report. “These resources are precious, non-renewable and come with collateral environmental impacts. They demand more balanced stewardship in view of the needs of future generations of Canadians.”

The full report is below.

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