5. Our Approach and Scope

Our previous report, The Cleanest LNG in the World, assessed the full carbon footprint of British Columbia LNG production—from the natural gas fields in the province’s interior to the waterline at the ship terminals. While we remain concerned about the fuel’s carbon footprint, we limit the scope of this document to the energy needs and requirements of actual LNG production facilities.

Specifically, for discussion purposes we compared three LNG facilities proposed for Kitimat and Prince Rupert: LNG Canada (a partnership between Shell, Mitsubishi, Korea Gas Corporation, and PetroChina), Kitimat LNG (a partnership between Apache Canada and Chevron Canada), and Prince Rupert LNG (which would be owned and operated by the U.K.-based BG Group). We chose three plants because the government has indicated it would like to have that number of facilities operating by 2020. We chose this trio in particular because they are reasonably representative of the diversity of existing proposals.

We examined the public project descriptions for these three projects—and those of other LNG facilities currently being built and operated around the world. We also turned to B.C. Hydro’s assessment of renewable energy potential in the region.

To compare the impacts of one choice over the other on job creation, competitiveness, and greenhouse gas emissions, we developed and modelled three scenarios:

  1. Maximum Renewables: In this scenario, the three LNG plants use E-Drives, which are in turn powered by a mix of renewable-energy sources (26 percent of energy), efficient combined-cycle natural gas generation (60 percent of energy), and the existing B.C. Hydro grid (14 percent of energy). We also include upgrades to the Kitimat and Prince Rupert electrical grids, and twin the existing transmission line between the Williston and Skeena substations.
  2. Renewables Ready: In this scenario, the three LNG plants use E-Drives, but power them with combined-cycle natural gas electricity generation.
  3. Fossil Energy: In this scenario, the three LNG plants use D-Drives, and meet their ancillary electricity needs via natural gas turbines using waste-heat recovery.

For each of the three scenarios, we calculated permanent, regional jobs, the cost per unit of LNG produced expressed in gigajoules (Gj), associated carbon pollution, capacity to reduce carbon pollution in the future, and the legacy infrastructure that would remain in the region after the LNG facilities eventually close down. (For a detailed technical description of our methodology, please see the Appendix.)