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B.C.'S Future Liquefied Natural Gas Industry Could Fuel Economic and Job Growth in The Province and Canada for Decades

Ottawa, February 29, 2016—A new Conference Board of Canada report estimates that developing British Columbia’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry would grow Canada’s economy by an average of $7.4 billion per year over the next 30 years. The increased economic activity would raise national employment by an annual average of 65,000 jobs. The majority of the impacts would occur in British Columbia with real GDP lifted by $5.3 billion and employment up by an annual average of more than 46,000 jobs.

“Although the current downturn in crude oil prices has cast a shadow over LNG markets, developing B.C.’s LNG industry would open up new markets for Canada’s natural gas and generate economic benefits and employment opportunities that would not otherwise exist,” said Len Coad, Research Director, Public Policy.


  • Developing a 30 million tonnes per annum LNG industry in B.C. would grow Canada’s economy by an average of $7.4 billion per year over the next 30 years, of which $5.3 billion would occur in the province.
  • The increased economic activity would raise national employment by an annual average of 65,000 jobs and provincially by more than 46,000 jobs.
  • An average annual investment of $7 billion would be required to develop a 30 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) LNG industry in British Columbia.

Canada’s natural gas exports to the United States have declined in recent years. The Asia-Pacific region is the largest and fastest-growing LNG market in the world and presents an opportunity for Canada's natural gas industry.

The report, A Changing Tide: British Columbia’s Emerging Liquefied Natural Gas Industry, examines the potential economic and labour impacts of a 30 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) LNG industry in British Columbia. The report assumes three hypothetical projects would come into service between 2021 and 2025. These projects consist of two larger-scale projects that include two liquefaction trains with a capacity of approximately 6 MTPA each and one smaller-scale project that includes a single train with a capacity of 5 to 6 MTPA. The report measures the impacts over a 30 year period from 2016 to 2045.

Developing B.C.’s LNG industry to this size would result in the production of an additional 5 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas, approximately doubling 2014 production levels and require an average annual investment $7 billion per year.  The report estimates that each dollar of investment generates approximately $0.76 in GDP for British Columbia and $1.06 for Canada. The smaller impact on BC is due to components being sourced outside the province and even Canada. These benefits will peak in the early stages as the LNG terminals and related pipelines are built, but will continue at significant levels through the operations phase, primarily due to ongoing natural gas drilling and production investments.

The development of the industry would result in the reduction of the province's unemployment rate by 0.5 per cent on average over the 30 year period considered. The increased employment would, in turn, boost household disposable income in B.C. by an average of $4.8 billion per year the equivalent of $860 per person.

The development of the industry would also provide a significant boost to government coffers. An increase in labour income and corporate profits would result in $808 million and $577 million annually in tax revenues for the provincial and federal governments respectively. In addition, increased drilling activity would contribute an additional $686 million annually in royalty payments to B.C.’s government over the period considered. Overall, the total impact on government revenues is estimated at close to $6 billion per year, of which 47 per cent ($2.8 billion) would accrue to British Columbia, and the remainder to Canada.

The analysis is based on the Conference Board's current long-term natural gas price forecast, which projects that the North American natural gas price benchmark (Henry Hub) will increase from US $2.85 per MMbtu in 2015 to US $7.94 by 2035. The analysis also reflects the long term LNG market outlook presented in the World LNG Report: 2015 Edition published by the International Gas Union.

This report was funded by Progress Energy Canada and is available from the Conference Board's e-Library.

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