NATURAL gas taxation revenues are down, way down, because the price (and therefore how much the province skims away) has dropped. Overall sales are down as well because of new supply hitting the market in the United States.
That’s blown a huge hole in the provincial budget and it’s anyone’s guess how finance minister Mike de Jong is going to plug it.
It’s bad news for the province but good news for the consumer. The more natural gas there is, the lower the price drops and the less the consumer pays.
To be sure, the provincial Liberals have slapped on a carbon tax affecting the total bill, but generally speaking, consumers are benefitting from lower natural gas prices.
The one area where natural gas pricing remains a problem is here in the northwest. We’re paying far more than elsewhere to have gas delivered to their homes because industrial users who once helped pay to maintain the Pacific Northern Gas pipeline have disappeared.
But a liquefied natural gas project at Kitimat, the smallest of the ones on the drawing boards, is designed to fill up the surplus pipeline space.
When that happens, the money that project pays to run gas through the pipeline should then lower the price the rest of us pay.
The new project also means new revenue for the province. Could this be a rare occurrence – something that helps the government and us?