B.C.'s LNG Pipedream

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Photo by Brian Huntington
Photo by Brian Huntington

The B.C. government is promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports as an economic boom. But B.C.’s fracking and pipeline plans come with tremendous risk and little reward.

Fracking, which is taking place in northeastern B.C., is a process where water, sand and toxic chemicals are blasted into shale or coal beds under high pressure, creating cracks in the rock that allow gas to flow up the well. Via a network of new pipelines, the fracked gas would be transported to LNG terminals along the coast of B.C., to be transformed into LNG by supercooling it in huge refrigeration plants. It would then be loaded onto mega-tankers – more than 300 metres in length, the size of three football fields – for export to Asia.

There are currently 18 LNG terminals proposed for the B.C. coast, along with numerous pipelines that would supply them with fracked gas. LNG projects are proposed in Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Squamish, Delta, Campbell River, and the west coast of Vancouver Island.

If just five of these LNG terminals are built, the facilities would release 12 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. The fracking and transport of the gas would generate an additional 15 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

The fracked gas needed for five LNG terminals would also drain an estimated 582 billion litres of water from B.C.’s rivers, lakes and streams.

There are serious safety concerns with the hundreds of tankers that would be transporting LNG on the Pacific Ocean. The risk of explosions on these carriers has led numerous U.S. cities to ban LNG tankers in their waters, just as West Vancouver recently voted to do.

Numerous First Nations oppose these terminals and pipelines, and have vowed they will not be allowed on their territory.

The Council of Canadians opposes the building of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals and pipelines in British Columbia. A ban on the development of LNG terminals and pipelines is necessary in order to limit greenhouse gas emissions, defend the province's freshwater sources, protect the coastline and respect Indigenous rights.