Ottawa, December 17, 2012—British Columbia is expected to gain more investment in natural gas than any other province in Canada over the next 24 years, according to a Conference Board of Canada report issued today.
In all, natural gas industry investments are projected to total $386 billion, most of which is expected to flow to the three westernmost provinces. British Columbia can expect to see $181 billion (2012 dollars) in investment between 2012 and 2035—more than $5.8 billion per year on average – well ahead of Alberta.
“British Columbia faces the challenge of developing on two fronts: unconventional shale gas production and infrastructure to support liquefied natural gas exports,” said Len Coad, Director, Environment, Energy and Technology Policy.
“The future of Canada’s natural gas industry depends critically on investment in exploration and production. Regulatory frameworks for liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects and for unconventional natural will play a key role in whether this investment takes place and the economic benefits are realized.”
Natural gas investments were quantified for this report based on projected natural gas demand within Canada and for export as LNG (primarily to Asian markets) or via the existing pipeline network (to U.S. markets).
Exports of LNG from British Columbia are a potential emerging market for natural gas. Several companies have announced plans for LNG liquefaction plants, pipelines, and/or export facilities in British Columbia. This analysis does not assume that all projects will proceed. If that were to happen, Canada would go from no LNG exports to being the second-largest LNG supplier in the world over a very short period. For this report, the Conference Board assumed that four LNG trains will be constructed, totalling 20 million tonnes per annum of capacity.
Although more investment will be made in British Columbia, Alberta will gain the most in gross domestic product from the investment – an increase of $153.6 billion increase (in 2012 dollars) from 2012 to 2035. British Columbia will gain more than $116 billion in GDP as a result of natural gas investment.
The investment in British Columbia is expected to lead to 1.2 million person years of employment, and more than $46 billion in total taxes in B.C. over 24 years. The tax revenues cited do not include natural gas royalty payments, which represent the resource owners’ share of the value of production.
In addition to the economic impact from investment, overall production growth is expected to contribute a cumulative $576 billion (2012 dollars) to Canada’s economy, supporting another 129,000 jobs per year. Through these activities, the industry is expected generate roughly 6.2 million person-years of employment. In other words, the industry is expected to support employment of nearly 260,000 per year over the 24-year forecast horizon.