Blog: Ksi Lisims LNG? Cut the red tape

BC’s Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) now is determining the detailed process for its evaluation of the Nisga’a Nation’s Ksi Lisims LNG project.

We immediately think of the call by the Surrey Board of Trade for federal, provincial and municipal governments to work together to bring LNG projects online in a timely manner.

The Board of Trade proposes reduction of wait-times for permits and approvals by 20-30 per cent.

Let’s see: The BCEAO’s initial process for evaluating the Haisla Nation’s Cedar LNG project took 306 days, from 14 January 2022 to 16 November 2022.

(Although it then took a further 117 days for the B.C. ministers of environment and climate change strategy and of energy, mines and low carbon innovation to render their green-light decision, which came on 13 March 2023.)

The Board of Trade’s call would reduce the BCEO’s 306 days of review to as little as 214 days, a saving of 92 days; call it three months. That works for us.

From the memory bank, we note that the initial provincial and federal approval of the LNG Canada project at Kitimat took, in all, 897 days, or almost three years (from 21 May 2013 to 06 May 2016.

In contrast, it took U.S. authorities just over one year to OK the Sabine Pass LNG project in Louisiana.

Speedier processes in the U.S, are one reason why it has seven active LNG-for-export plants, three more under construction, and another 15 at various stages in planning or approvals processes.

And the Biden administration has committed to “review and expeditiously . . . permit any additional export LNG capacities.”

At one point, in 2011, there were 13 LNG plants proposed in British Columbia.

What have we got in operation 12 years later? FortisBC’s modest plants in Delta (which had gone into operation in 1971) and at Mount Hayes, near Ladysmith on Vancouver Island (which opened in 2011).

Nothing in operation since then. . . .

True, there’s LNG Canada but that’s still under construction at Kitimat, and aiming for operations in mid-2025. Woodfibre LNG aims to start construction in September, and would hope to open in 2027.

Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims are still mired in government processes, as is FortisBC’s expansion of its Tilbury plant in Delta. And Port Edward LNG is still only on paper.

Complicated and laborious approval processes by governments affect all.

The Global Energy Institute says simply: “It shouldn’t take longer to get a decision about a permit than it does to actually construct a project.”

Canada Action declares: “Canadian energy projects are required to undergo an excruciatingly slow regulatory process, creating huge uncertainty for investors. Initial costs are also typically high, resulting in hesitancy by proponents to spend hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, on projects that may eventually not be approved.”

And it adds: “Canadian projects don’t take ‘too long’ to build, they just undergo one of the world’s most stringent environmental regulatory approval processes. . . .

“Unfortunately, Canada’s long and drawn-out regulatory process affects our energy sector’s competitiveness on the world stage. If we ever want to see more responsibly produced Canadian energy on global markets, we must work on improving the speed at which new infrastructure is approved.”

Over to you, BCEAO, to cut some of the red tape. . . .


Image: red tape and scissors

(Posted here 04 May 2023)

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