Open Door for Export of Natural Gas in Eastern Canada

While Europe has just placed natural gas in the category of useful energy for fighting the climate crisis, at least three LNG export projects have the potential to see the light of day in eastern Canada. Projects that could be added to GNL Québec, which continues its lobbying work in Ottawa. But the new terminals should be part of the “energy transition,” says the Trudeau government.

European Union members confirmed on Wednesday that natural gas can now be considered “green” energy needed to reduce coal dependency and greenhouse gas emissions. At a time when Europe is looking at ways to move away from Russian gas, countries have simultaneously advocated sourcing this resource from “safe countries”.

Canada, the fifth largest producer in the world, also wants to become a supplier to European countries and is banking on the construction of new liquefaction and export terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG). “We recently established a working group on LNG with the European Union to explore the opportunities offered to Canada in this area,” Natural Resources Canada said via email.

While the Trudeau government today announced its desire to contribute to Europe’s “energy security” in the context of the war in Ukraine, it had already signed an “energy partnership” with Germany in March 2021, underscoring that LNG is part of the development of “clean energy”. Energy”. A month before the start of the Russian invasion, Canada and Germany organized a meeting devoted to the development of the gas industry and LNG projects.

One of the projects presented at the meeting, Goldboro LNG, is one of three export terminals currently “proposed” on the East Coast, according to information sent to the Have to from Natural Resources Canada. Pieridae Energy, which has been exploring for oil on the Gaspé Peninsula, plans to build a floating liquefaction plant in Nova Scotia. The implementation of this project could involve the use of the Trans Québec & Maritimes (TQM) network, which traverses southern Québec.

Another project in New Brunswick could also use the TQM pipeline: Saint John LNG. This is the most advanced of the three proposed projects, as the multinational Repsol already has a terminal there that allows the import of liquefied natural gas. In response to questions from Have to, the company argues that it is analyzing “opportunities” to meet market demand and “support the energy transition.” It does not rule out the idea of ​​adding “liquefaction capacity” to its existing facilities.

The third East Coast project named by Natural Resources Canada could see the light of day in Newfoundland and Labrador. LNG Newfoundland plans to construct a floating liquefaction plant there, which will be connected to off-island gas production zones. The gas would be transported through a 600-kilometer subsea gas pipeline.

“I believe that the demand for low-carbon energy in Europe represents a tremendous economic opportunity for Canada,” he argues Have to its CEO, Leo Power. He also recalls that the energy partnership signed with Germany in 2021 specifically recommends LNG projects that the company hopes to benefit from.

LNG Quebec

In addition to these projects, GNL Québec promoters continue to lobby the federal government despite the rejection of the first version of their project for a liquefaction plant and marine terminal in Saguenay.

Its president, Tony Le Verger, has registered three communications reports since early May. Among them are three policy advisers to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson. Another report concerns communication with Stéphane Dion, the then Canadian ambassador to Germany and the European Union. The CEO of Énergie Saguenay, Jim Illich, also recently registered a “communication” with Mr. Dion, who was still in office in Germany at the time.

“We welcome the Canadian government’s outstretched hand to our European allies to provide responsible LNG with the lowest carbon footprint in the world,” argues GNL Québec in a written response, in which the company positions its project as “ideally positioned to help.” “ presents our transatlantic allies finding a solution to their geopolitical and climatic problems“.

” Crossing “

But for new LNG projects to get off the ground, the Trudeau administration says greenhouse gas emissions associated with Canada’s gas production must meet “reduction targets.” Exports should also allow for the replacement of more polluting sources such as coal and be part of an “energy transition” towards exporting hydrogen.

Pierre-Olivier Pineau, Chair of Energy Sector Management at HEC Montréal, believes that the situation in Europe, and in particular in Germany, favors the argument in favor of exporting LNG, which he considers to be ” transitional energy”. “The situation has never been so cheap, but it will not be easy to build the infrastructure to transport natural gas in the east of the country,” said the resistance in Quebec.

For his part, the scientific director of the Trottier Institute of Polytechnique Montreal, Normand Mousseau, doubts the relevance of new terminals. He points out that it would take several years and billions of dollars of investment to get these projects off the ground, while the climate crisis forces achieving “carbon neutrality” on a global scale by 2050 at the latest.

“Canada and Germany have been discussing a gas agreement since January. Attempting to disguise their interest in response to the invasion of Ukraine is opportunistic,” adds Caroline Brouillette of Climate Action Network Canada, calling on the two countries to “accelerate the use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

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