Andrew Weaver, the leader of the BC Green Party, is against the development of LNG because it would impact BC’s CO2 reduction targets as a result of CO2 emissions from upstream activities.
While it is true that upstream activities do produce CO2 from diesel consumed during drilling and completions, the CO2 reductions in consuming countries (who by the way are bringing on dozens of new coal plants each year) more than offsets upstream CO2 emissions.
So my question to you Mr. Weaver is: Does it matter where CO2 is produced on earth? Do the emissions created in India and China from burning coal not affect the whole world? And as these are the fastest growing energy consumers, isn’t it our moral obligation to do whatever we as a country can to eliminate the use of coal for power generation? Even if it means egad… profits, subsequent royalties and taxes are then able to be shared by the people of BC and Canada for social programs.
On an energy equivalent basis, natural gas produces only 53% that of coal. This is because coal is 100% carbon whereas natural gas has four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom. When one takes into account thermal efficiencies, it gets even better. Natural gas is 50% more efficient than coal, and 45% in combined cycle natural gas generators (with research under way to take the thermal efficiency to 60%) Coal plants on the other hand have a maximum of 30%.
After running some calculations for a 7 million tonne per annum LNG plant (this is on the small side. BC could easily support four or more LNG plants of this size), and based on energy equivalents, substitution of LNG for coal would net out at a reduction of 18.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year, or roughly 28 million tonnes per year taking into account thermal efficiency.
The upstream offset would be about 7.3 million tonnes, for a net reduction of about 21 million tonnes per year. If four LNG plants were constructed, we would be eliminating 85 million tonnes of CO2 every year from Mother Earth. That is the equivalent of removing 18 million cars! It’s also worth noting that upstream emissions could be reduced by electrification of drilling rigs and gas processing plants.
When one looks at the whole cumulative impact on this planet, development of BC’s natural gas resource is simply the right thing to do from an environmental perspective. Would it be better to jump to solar and wind? Of course. But these resources are location specific and are intermittent energy sources. Natural gas can act as the shock absorber in down times and when battery storage capacities need supplementing or for areas where wind and solar are not available.
And finally, there are the economic benefits to the North East of BC and for all of the people calling Canada’s Western most province home. Wouldn’t it be nice to have two or three extra billion dollars in revenue each year to solve the affordable housing and ICBC crises, not to mention funding other social programs?
Two final thoughts. First, all projects must meet all environmental and First Nations issues. Second, let’s not be so short sighted and petty that we squander this opportunity.
Randy Evanchuk, P. Eng., has 35 years of experience in the patch. From 2007 until he retired in 2015, Mr. Evanchuk was involved in all phases of of unconventional resource development including;evaluation, economics, production and facilities. As as senior consultant with Murphy’s Holdings, he evaluated their Montney holding as well was as a member of evaluation team. Mr. Evanchuk was the Vice President of new ventures at Daylight Energy where his team was successful in acquiring a substantial Duvernay position. At Seven Generations Energy he was Executive Vice President looking after facilities, marketing, production operations and long range facility and marketing planning