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NEWS: British LNG corporation in BC raises fracking, CETA concerns

The Globe and Mail reports, “British natural gas giant BG Group PLC has joined the rush of companies swarming Canada’s West Coast in hopes of exporting energy to Asia. The company, a global liquefied natural gas supplier, is looking to Prince Rupert, B.C., as a potential site for a terminal that could be used to load Western Canadian gas onto ships bound for consumers in Japan, South Korea and China.”

“The entrance of BG, which runs a fleet of LNG ships and is pouring billions into new LNG projects around the world, is further evidence that British Columbia and Canada’s natural gas reserves have attracted the attention of global heavyweights. …In Prince Rupert, BG has secured access to a 200-acre section of land on the Ridley industrial development site, owned by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The port normally provides companies 12 to 24 months to assess whether they can make a project work.”

Presumably at least some of the natural gas that BG would be exporting would come from the Horn River Formation in north-eastern British Columbia. More than 500 trillion cubic feet of gas is in this formation, considered one of the top gas reserves in North America. In early-November, the Vancouver Sun reported, “(CCPA researcher Ben) Parfitt challenges the province’s decision to give gas producers virtually unimpeded access to the water, with special privileges to extract it from surface and underground reserves, including lakes, rivers, hydroelectric reservoirs and aquifers, with only nominal scrutiny.”

While BG’s agreement with the Prince Rupert Port Authority raises concerns about the expanded use of fracking in British Columbia to produce this natural gas, it also raises concerns about the implications of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. If CETA were to be completed by this June with an investor-state provision intact as is expected, then arguably BG would be in a position, as a foreign investor, to threaten a Chapter 11-like suit under CETA and put a chill on a future provincial or Canadian government banning fracking, as we argue is an environmental and water protection imperative.