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UPDATE: Clark’s win in BC means more fracking

The Globe and Mail reports that newly-re-elected BC Premier Christy Clark has set out her plans for the first 100 days of her new government. According to the news report, “It’s an ambitious agenda that includes hardening up plans for a critical trade mission to Asia, beginning a conversation with the province’s labour leaders aimed at creating a new era of co-operation, refreshing her jobs plan, swearing in a cabinet, tabling a budget (and getting a seat in the Legislature).”

Significantly, “(Clark also says the province) needs to nail down important deals with companies eager to extract and export liquefied natural gas from large deposits in northern B.C. To that end, she said staff is already planning a vital trade mission, tentatively scheduled to touch down in China, Japan and Korea, in a bid to close essential LNG deals – ones on which the Premier has effectively staked the economic future of the province.”

1- Clark’s agenda undoubtedly includes pushing ahead with the Pacific Trails pipeline. This pipeline would transport approximately 1,000 million cubic feet per day of unconventional gas from fracking operations in the Liard Basin and Horn River Basin in north-eastern BC to a terminal in Kitimat on the coast where the gas would be liquefied and shipped overseas on supertankers. Chevron owns a 50 per cent stake in the $1 billion pipeline. The Unist’ot’en Camp has been set up as a resistance community on the pathway of the Pacific Trails pipeline as a way to protect the sovereignty of the Wet’suwet’en territory. Pipeline construction is scheduled to begin in 2013-2014, with the pipeline to be operational by winter 2015.

2- Clark’s plans would also continue to deny water justice for the Fort Nelson First Nation in north-eastern BC. Encana is seeking to secure the right from the BC government to take 3-billion litres of fresh water every year from their territory for shale gas fracking. The Fort Nelson First Nation is located near the Horn River gas fields. As noted above, the Horn River Formation is in north-eastern BC and extends to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. More than 500 trillion cubic feet of gas is in this formation, considered one of the top gas reserves in North America.

3- While a deal was worked out in late-2012 for oil and gas development to be banned in a 400,000-hectare area in north-western BC known as the Sacred Headwaters, it is also known that Shell Canada agreed to give up its rights to shale gas in this area for a $20-million royalty credit and because it has better prospects for fracking in north-eastern BC. In September 2012, Shell opened a ‘reclaimed water facility’ in BC to pipe water to its Groundbirch shale-gas operations just west of Dawson Creek. PetroChina Co. owns a 20 per cent stake in Shell’s Groundbirch project.

4- It is also expected that the Harper government’s approval of the Malaysian state-owned Petronas takeover of Progress Energy will result in billions of dollars of accelerated investment in the Montney shale gas fields near Dawson Creek in north-eastern BC and a pipeline to take the gas to a bigger Liquefied Natural Gas export facility on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert. A final investment decision on this play is expected in late 2014, followed by the first LNG exports in 2018.

5- In February 2012, British natural gas giant BG Group PLC, a global liquefied natural gas supplier, secured access to a 200-acre section of land on the Ridley industrial development site, owned by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. This would be a potential site for a terminal that could be used to load fracked gas onto ships bound for Japan, South Korea and China. The company is expected to decide on this prospect by February 2014 at the latest.

In terms of the BC government’s timelines, “The Premier said final ballot counting will be done by May 27, and the writ is returned to Victoria on June 5. She’d like to have her new cabinet sworn in between those two dates. Ms. Clark said her government has until the end of September to bring in a new budget. If she doesn’t call a summer session to deal with that and other matters, there will definitely be a fall sitting.”

The Council of Canadians will be participating in the Global Frackdown day of action against fracking on October 19 this year. Last year, more than 200 Global Frackdown actions took place in 20 countries.

For more, please read:
UPDATE: Adrangi travels to Unist’ot’en Camp to oppose Pacific Trails pipeline
NEWS: Fort Nelson First Nation ‘extremely concerned’ about massive water use for fracking
NEWS: Shell buys 10-years of water with funding of town’s wastewater plant
NEWS: Harper approval of Petronas bid would mean major expansion of fracking in BC
NEWS: British LNG corporation in BC raises fracking, CETA concerns