Rafe on Liberals’ Delusional LNG Scheme


Don’t eat that, Elmer. Them’s horse buns!

The BC Liberal Government’s speech from the throne on February 12 – which hinged on promises of a $100 Billion windfall from BC’s heretofore nonexistent Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) industry – was an appalling attempt to divert attention away from reality with pie in a distant sky.

This government must be thrown out and one can say with certainty that any replacement would be an improvement.

Billions in a few years hence, perhaps trillions after that. We’ll become the LNG capital in the world! There are one or two dark spots on this sunny painting we should look at carefully.

The LNG will come largely from fracking, which is taking the world by storm. It involves drilling deep underground into shale beds where gas is trapped, then drilling horizontally through them, and ultimately pushing huge amounts of chemical-laced water through to crack open the shale and force the gas to the surface. Under Christy Clark’s grand LNG scheme, this gas would then be transported by pipeline to Kitimat or Prince Rupert, where it would be converted into LNG for export, mostly to Asia.

The first questions – the conditions precedent to this operation – are to do with the environment. In a radio interview with the CBC’s Rick Cluff Wednesday, Premier Christy Clark repeatedly referred to this gas as “clean”. Really?

Where does this water come from? The requirements are immense, so a large supply must be found.

Where does the chemically loaded water go? Into the water table, thence to the water supply of local residents?

What is the impact of the extraction of this gas on the stability of the area? Will there be earthquakes as a result of fracking, as a recent report from the Oil and Gas Commission suggests?

What is the impact of huge water extractions on the general ecology of the the supply area? Are there fish losses? What happens to the fauna and flora after the water is extracted? What impact is there on people, especially First Nations? What will be the impact of the water lost to this process on BC Hydro and its ratepayers – like the billions of litres coming from the Williston Reservoir?

There is this question Premier Clark won’t deal with because she doesn’t give a damn – what about the impact of pipelines (all four of them proposed to cut across BC), especially on wildlife?

The fact is that these concerns are being dealt with in several regions with a moratoriumon the enterprise until the answers to these and other questions are answered.

What we do know is that these sorts of concerns do not bother the Chinese in the least, which leads into the major economic concern. Asian prices are high now – 5 or 6 times higher than in North America, which is the basis for this whole scheme. This is a direct reflection of the current lack of cheap, local supply.

So here’s the rub – what if China develops its own supply of “fracked” gas? What happens to the overseas market price then?

One doesn’t have to be an economic genius or Nostradamus to predict that our proposed customer, China, will find plenty of shale and be awash with natural gas.

Even if China does not develop its own supply, who says BC can compete with other countries, such as Australia, which is into this big time?

Another nasty question: how does Premier Clark know how much tax room there will for BC in this development? Are we to suppose that the feds will see huge money without wanting to get into the taxing game themselves, big time?

It should be noted that at present there is no LNG plant in BC.

This is the bunch that wants to be re-elected on May 14. This is their blueprint. Not only have they done nothing to relieve our financial woes they have taken us for fools by feeding us a load of unattainable and inedible pie in the sky.

This government is unfit to govern.


About Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

6 thoughts on “Rafe on Liberals’ Delusional LNG Scheme

  1. Friday, 05 April 2013 13:16 posted by DGSE

    Good article. Alas, I find it absolutly crazy that people are still falling for the BS of CO2. Mr Mair is a smart man maybe thats why he didn’t mention it. With ALL the DEADLY POLLUTION that is involved with the Energy Sector, especially “fracking”, that people still parrot the now proven LIES from the UN, IPCC, East Anglea Labs and all their “climate modeling” minions, is beyond belief. There is a HUGE list of CHEMICALS and reasons why we should control, and or avoid, this sector, and a LIFE GIVING GAS such as CO2 is not one of them. Destroying humans lives, communities, wildlife, the enviroment, and the LIFE GIVING wonder caller WATER is reason enough to say NO to the non-eleted Premier and the criminal “lieberals”. Never mind the Chinese “not caring”, G Cambell, C Clark and their gang of corportists/fascists/BayStreet minions have PROVED in 13 years their complete distain and loathing for us BCers. Especially children, the poor, and elderly. I will look back on the Cambell/Clark years as the WORST in BC history. Lets hope Mr Dix will not repeat his former boss’s idiocy. I would like to see a reversal of the insanity that has taken over the world, GLOBALIZATION. Local is IT.

    Sunday, 24 February 2013 13:58 posted by Damien Gillis

    Casador, you need to get with the times. Fracking science is piling up fast and furious. Both the EPA and US Geological Service concur that fracking contaminates groundwater. http://www.businessinsider.com/study-finds-evidence-fracking-contaminated-groundwater-2012-9 And here’s Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/health/Leaked+fracking+fluid+contaminated+groundwater+near+Grande+Prairie+ERCB/7728972/story.html And yes, LNG is used to power the ships – more wasted gas as part of this highly inefficient method of transportation – with 20 times the intensity of climate change-causing emissions than CO2. This scheme is neither “clean”, as Christy Clark claims, nor economically savvy.

    Thursday, 21 February 2013 19:10 posted by Casador

    Rafe knows nothing about the natural gas industry judging by his rant. There is not one document case in history of fraccing (50 years roughly) of stuff getting intothe water table that people use (typicall shallow). LNG boiloff is not 6% – do some research. The excess (to cool the tanks) can be burned in the ship’ engines. And what on earth has the LNG projects got to do with Burrard Thermal – they do not run it due to its age and inefficiency. Yes, it give off GHGs, but so will the Chinese if they have to burn more coal instead of LNG.

    Friday, 15 February 2013 21:06 posted by Jim

    The trillion dollar figure was also used in a BC Liberal taxpayer funded jobs plan propaganda piece.

    Sadly though, the NDP is not going to be any better on this. They are just as eager to frack BC. The greens better get some candidates together or I’m staying home this time around. I can’t vote for either.

    Friday, 15 February 2013 19:57 posted by Ben

    When other countries can also tap into their own LNG, they will. It’s not rocket science! and if China and India still need extra I’m sure the former USSR countries would be happy to oblige.

    Why is it not good enough to keep our LNG prices low in order to build our local economies and provide residents with a cheap source of fuel. But then again, if water pollution is involved we need to think twice about that also. There are other forms of energy, and we do have some pretty innovative people of this planet. The hell with this old school thinking. Betcha that’s what the oil boys said about the coal men.

    Friday, 15 February 2013 15:28 posted by Hugh

    If LNG is so great, why is BC Hydro told to minimize the use of Burrard Thermal?

    Friday, 15 February 2013 12:47 posted by Chris

    Sorry Dix’s response starts between 1645 and 1650.

    Friday, 15 February 2013 12:42 posted by Chris

    Dix’s reply to the throne speech: http://www.leg.bc.ca/hansard/39th5th/H30213y.htm

    Friday, 15 February 2013 07:24 posted by dan

    The entire LNG debate is academic. Even if one project is started this week nothing online until 2018 and no revenue stream until 2020. That’s time to vote in and out a couple of governments…..

    Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, spokesperson Geoff Morrison tells us that unless the feds and BC allow 30% capital cost allowances the projects will not be built.

    End of the LNG party.

    Isn’t it appropriate though? The BC liberals attempting to “pass gas” on the electorate. The irony is not lost….

    Friday, 15 February 2013 01:37 posted by Michael Major

    I agree with your sentiments with an exception. Not only is fracking for LNG exports the BC Liberals dream its also the single most important article faith in the Dix NDP catechism.

    Note that more than 6% of the LNG produced is lost to boil-off losses in production and transit to Asia, and that methane is between 21x and 105x times as strong a greenhouse gas as CO2 (depending on its duration in the atmosphere vis-a-vis CO2).

    To understand this graphically assume methane is 34x times as powerful as CO2 which means the 6% loss must be multiplied x 34 to discover the CO2eq (equivalent value) = 204%.

    This means that for every supertanker of LNG produced the 6% loss translates into 204% CO2eq or more simply the 6% loss of methane for each supertanker shipped produces the equivalent climate pollution as the atmospheric release of 2 supertankers worth of CO2.

    Rafe, do you think Christy or Adrian plan on buying carbon credits from their ephemeral gas royalty revenues sufficient to sequester 2 supertankers of CO2 for each supertanker of liquid methane shipped to Asia?

    The plan is to ignore the consequences, pocket the royalties, bribe us, and burn the planet.



    Thursday, 14 February 2013 23:03 posted by How depressing

    A couple of days ago I saw Coleman on the news spewing a one trillion dollar figure for revenues for this project. Now the throne speech says we are to get 100 billion in return. So why are we only getting 10% for a resource we already own and from that we will bat cleanup for the resulting medical and environmental costs as well. I can almost smell the frantic fanaticism careening through the Liberal caucus to get this deal done before they are thrown out of office in May. How sad the Liberals position themselves as the economic stewards of BC. The only thing worse than giving Harper his majority government would be to re-elect these self-interested clowns this May.

    Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:58 posted by tf

    Our world has gotten so corrupted that we have to explode the earth’s outer surface to get the gas before it’s ready to surface.

    That’s my opinion of the tar fields as well – it’s oil that isn’t quite ready to surface, that’s why it needs to be mixed with bitumen in order to use.

    Be patient and these resources will come to us; get greedy and we self-destruct.
    Thanks for your commitment to British Columbia Rafe!

    Thursday, 14 February 2013 12:24 posted by Chris Alemany

    I am honestly disappointed that in your litany of What’s and Where’s, which are all absolutely valid and shocking, you left off one of the biggest which is CO2 emissions. The CO2 emissions from the proposed fracking, the conversion of NG to LNG, and the burning of the LNG itself, is mind boggling. 5x or more than the entire current CO2 emission profile of the Province of BC.

    This should, must, not be overlooked.

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