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Gas boss says LNG education is key
THE last thing the provincial natural gas minister Rich Coleman wants to see are bumper stickers with the phrase “frack you” on them.
So it's one of the reasons the provincial government is preparing an intensive education program to better explain the ins and outs of what it hopes is a financially-lucrative liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
“Call it LNG 101 and we'll build from there,” said Coleman, speaking after his tour of the northwest two weeks ago.
Coleman said it was important for the government to offer a clear information line regarding LNG given the complexity of the industry and the sheer number of the projects being contemplated.
“I've just signed off on a communications strategy and you'll see that rolling out soon,” he said.
There are three proposed projects in Kitimat (two of which have environmental approval) and there are two proposals in Prince Rupert.
Four of those projects would require natural pipelines to supply natural gas from northeastern B.C., with total potential investment dollars hovering in the $60 billion range.
Coleman acknowledged that the provincial government needs to foster a broad based social licence within the northwest.
But he declined to equate too closely what could happen to public information and debate surrounding LNG with what is happening to Enbridge's planned crude-oil carrying Northern Gateway Pipeline project.
“We just don't have the same issues surrounding LNG,” said Coleman.
“For one, there's a First Nations partnership already for the one pipeline, the Pacific Trails,” he said. “Natural gas is not as critical an issue.'
No further details as to the provincial government's LNG education plan were available.
And Coleman wouldn't say if it will include a physical presence such as an information office in Terrace or any other northwestern location.
If the province is looking for ways to better educate people about LNG, so are energy companies.
Geoff Morrison from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), which represents nearly all of energy producers in Canada, said it recognizes the need for more communication.
“There are so many projects and so many policies it's difficult for people to understand the fundamentals of it,” he said while in Prince Rupert last week.
He also spoke of the need for the industry to gain social licence.
“We think the economic benefits are clear and speak for themselves,” said Morrison of the billions in potential spending.
“And we think it's vitally important to build trust. We need to make this industry the best it can be.”