Our LNG Alliance is needed

Susannah Pierce, on her last day as Director of Corporate Affairs, LNG Canada, looked at our Alliance, at LNG, and at the future. The next day she took on a new role, Shell Canada President and Country Chair.  She spoke to the Alliance board meeting on 31 March 2021. Here’s a condensed version of her remarks:

At the beginning, we had probably 10-15 projects, maybe 20, on the list of LNG projects. Everyone was looking at BC and we knew that the only way the projects could ever be successful, was with very clear Indigenous participation, and Indigenous interests that were going to be promoted and protected.

Clifford (Alliance director Clifford White),  you led the way to a large extent, ensuring that there were jobs, and looking at how do we build in training, through your leadership, with the province and also within the community.

So, when I think about where we are today, based on where we have been, and then I think ahead to where we will need to go, I think the first thing I would say is, indeed, there does need to be a First Nations LNG Alliance.

There’s still very much going to be a demand for LNG in the course of the next 20-30 years. And the reason for that is because, despite all of the efforts to meet net-zero commitments and decarbonization, and to meet Paris Agreement commitments, there is still going to be a need for natural gas. In particular, natural gas that is produced with the lowest amount of carbon emissions per tonne.

When we look into the future, LNG customers, and that might be Japan, or Korea or China, are actually asking the question, ‘Tell me what your footprint is.’

And not only do they mean your footprint in terms of decarbonization or how much greenhouse gases you have per tonne of cargo of LNG, but they also want to understand your relationships with people, and relationships with Indigenous communities, and the whole concept of ESG, environment and social and governance.

The way we are doing it, we are recognizing the importance of involvement and engagement and participation of Indigenous communities. So there’s still very much a role for the Alliance.

When we first started talking, we were talking about ‘Let’s get to a final investment decision, let’s build it.’ But in the future it’s about ‘How do we operate these facilities?’

And beyond that, the future might be another project. It might be a Phase Two of LNG Canada.

But there is also going to be, across the entire natural-gas supply chain, a conversation about decarbonization.

We can’t just stand still when we have these very important commitments, very real commitments, that we need to meet to deal with an existential crisis.

I can tell you, having been on this project now, almost eight  years, that we’ve learned. So I think there’s a learning piece, for when the next project comes around, which may not actually even be LNG, it might be carbon-capture, it might be a hydrogen pipeline, it might be an export terminal in another part of this province, that is a derivative from natural gas.

This is the future. If you really look into the future, and you talk about what Japan’s looking at, they’re talking about ammonia. That’s actually what they’re looking at, the decarbonized molecule of gas.

Now what I am saying to you is: Let’s continue to build an Alliance that recognizes how we need to evolve, and how we also need to learn, and continues to raise awareness across communities across BC about how they can work with projects that deliver benefits and maximize the opportunities for Indigenous communities.

I think it’s bigger in the future than just LNG, and you have a lot to offer. There will be other projects in British Columbia, and I would love for all of your communities to have the skills, and the contractors ready to participate in.

(Posted here 02 April 2021)