B.C.’s vision for liquefied natural gas ‘way behind schedule’

Clark said industry would create tens of thousands of jobs and wipe out B.C.’s debt


VANCOUVER – British Columbia is behind schedule on Premier Christy Clark’s much-ballyhooed liquefied natural gas plans, says one industry expert.

The Liberal government released the first details in this week’s budget about how it will cash in on the LNG boom, but Zoher Meratla says the province is already lagging.

“It is way behind schedule,” Meratla, a B.C.-based expert in the LNG industry, said in an interview Wednesday. “I don’t see why it has taken so long.”

Clark won last year’s provincial election in large part on a promise to foster an LNG industry that she said will create tens of thousands of jobs and wipe out B.C.’s debt. The province would start collecting LNG revenues, Clark told voters, by 2017.

Some details were revealed in Tuesday’s budget but the plan to tax and regulate the industry, originally expected last year, has yet to be finalized and Finance Minister Mike de Jong appears to be tempering expectations. He now says he doesn’t expect LNG revenues for at least three to five years.

Meratla, who was quoted in the B.C. Liberals’ official campaign platform last year, said there is no chance the province will see any LNG revenues three years from now.

“It’s not possible, because none of the LNG plants has any financial investment,” he said. “It takes at least four years to build an LNG plant, and none of the plants is at a financial investment decision.”

The Liberal government’s publicly stated goal is to have at least three LNG terminals up and running by 2020.

On budget day, de Jong admitted the goal was “lofty” but he insisted it was still within reach. Meratla disagrees.

“I think those were optimistic numbers,” said Meratla.

“I’m not criticizing the government, because there was a lot of interest in British Columbia by proponents to set anchor. But now the dust has settled. … I see probably by 2020, maybe two — possibly — but we’ll have to move soon.”

The LGN tax plan released Tuesday contemplates a two-tier tax structure that would begin at 1.5 per cent as LNG terminals begin production. That would be followed by second-tier tax, which could increase to seven per cent once a plant is running and capital costs have been deducted.

However, de Jong said even those details could change before legislation to tax and regulate the industry is released this fall.

This week’s budget also included $29 million to support development of the liquefied natural gas industry, as well as $9 million for environmental assessments for LNG plants, pipelines and other major resource projects.

The 2014-2015 budget is projected to be balanced, with a surplus of $184 million but few new spending announcements.


B.C.’s vision for liquefied natural gas ‘way behind schedule’

  1. Like most politicians, they lie to get in and then do nothing once in but tax people and more debt for the kids.

    People don’t invest in taxes, debt, government bureaucracy and greed, they invest to make money. And investor is like a worker, we don’t work to lose money. We work to make money. And BC is so bureaucratic and dysfunctional tax/debt greedy environment that investing in BC is a high risk low reward proposition.

    Much better places to invest in. I invested in a multi-national energy US/Swiss denominated currency stock, its up 9%, pays 4% dividend in larger USD, 11% larger as CAD has depreciated making its CAD value a 24% gain! My returns are huge because I don’t invest in BC/Canada like I used to.

    Hey, I work for my family, not for the gov-political-unions.

    And BC had a part in devalued money, no legitimate lenders of real money are buying BC, Ontario, Quebec, PEI and other government debts, BoC is diluting the currency with thin air money to buy these debts. Debt needs to return inflation+taxes+currency devaluation or we investors are better off offshore.

    But then Clark isn’t looking at reality. Its also why we canceled plans to retire in BC, just too taxing.