Halifax– There’s another opportunity knocking at Atlantic Canada’s door, but the region needs to act in unison to answer it.
The opportunity is Liquefied Natural Gas, or LNG, and the region needs to coordinate its approach to fully realize the potential. That’s the conclusion of the AIMS latest paper, LNG in Atlantic Canada: Opportunity for Regional Development. Author Angela Tu-Weissenberger examines the LNG world, the opportunities for Atlantic Canada and the three LNG terminals proposed in the region.
LNG is natural gas cooled to -160 degrees Celsius making it a liquid, and reducing its volume by about 600 times, which takes a lot less space to transport. This liquefied gas is brought by specially designed tankers from remote locations around the world to regasification plants, converted back to the gaseous state, and then pumped into pipelines to customers.
There is so much interest in LNG that more than 50 terminals are proposed for construction in North America. Tu-Weissenberger points out that the market will determine how many will actually be built, but it will be a tiny fraction of those proposed. She says those that are first to start operation will have a first-mover advantage that will add to their viability.
Of the three proposals for Atlantic Canada, two – Canaport LNG in Saint John, NB and Anadarko at Bear Head, NS – are the first to receive environmental and regulatory approvals. The third, Keltic Petrochemicals in Goldboro, NS, is proceeding through the regulatory review process. Tu-Weissenberger says Atlantic Canada has many advantages in the race to build the newest LNG terminals, but she reaches seven conclusions on what needs to be done to get any or all three of the LNG terminals built in the region:
- The provinces should recognize the long-term benefits of having access to LNG in Atlantic Canada.
- Atlantic energy ministers should extend regional cooperation on energy matters to include specific LNG opportunities.
- The Atlantic provinces and the federal government should create a coordinated approach to support the projects in the regulatory process.
- The provinces should refrain from pursuing protectionist “Canada First” policies that attempt to force sales of LNG in the still undeveloped Atlantica Canadian market by blocking exports of surplus gas to the United States.
- Provincial governments should encourage regulators to reduce overlap and duplication by sharing practices and focusing regulation o market based principles.
- The provinces should join with US states and the US and Canadian federal governments to continue crossborder discussion to improve coordination of the energy regulatory process.
- Provincial governments should do a better job of educating the public about the long-term benefits of LNG to the Atlantic region.
“In the next several years, up to $250 billion US will be dedicated to bringing LNG supplies to markets worldwide,” says Ms. Tu-Weissenberger. “Atlantic Canada has the potential to benefit from this unprecedented growth provided the provinces can act together to maximize the investment opportunity.”
Ms. Tu-Weissenberger leads a consulting practice that provides strategic, economic, and competitive advice for market growth and access to capital. She is formerly Group Head of Global Energy Research at RBC Financial Group, where she led a team of analysts responsible for the risk assessment of energy companies for debt and project finance. Prior to her tenure at RBC, she was a natural gas markets analyst at the Alberta Department of Energy. She is also the Calgary Editor-in-Chief for Energy Politics, a UK-based journal.
The paper is posted on the AIMS website at www.aims.ca//media/aims/LNGatlantic.pdf .