It wasn’t just the level of Blue Jays fandom that impressed Guess about this year’s conference. What struck him most was the youth involvement. “They had a youth expo where they literally flew in kids from schools from up north BC, all over the lower mainland and greater Vancouver area,” Guess enthuses. “We had a bunch of kids come by our booth and ask really good questions. These were smart kids who picked up on what we did. It was a really good experience.”
The show, which ran October 14 −16, brought together small and large businesses, government and students -stakeholders in the future of LNG in BC. But what will that future look like?
Since the BC government first published its Natural Gas Strategy, detailing its plans for LNG, early in 2012, the process has moved forward rapidly. Currently, there are 20 export project proposals in various stages of development, as well as 13 National Energy Board export licenses and 34 project partners.
There has also been pushback, from First Nations groups whose land will be needed for many of the projects to proceed, to environmental groups concerned about the possible impacts of the industry, to people within the industry who think, despite the quick progress, that we’ve already taken too long to get ahead in the global market.
But the message at this year’s conference was clear: LNG is moving towards a bright future in BC.
And Woodfibre LNG’s environmental approval, announced this Monday, seems to back that message up.
Byng Giraud, Woodfibre’s Vice President of Corporate affairs, said in a press release Monday, “Receiving environmental approval in British Columbia is not only an important milestone for the Woodfibre LNG project, but it means the people of Squamish and the region are one step closer to realizing the opportunities that an industrial project like Woodfibre LNG can bring.”
Environmental approval does not guarantee the project will go forward: it is still awaiting federal approval, in the wake of a very recent election, and there are other steps to take before anything is final, including an investment decision from Woodfibre’s backers.
Still, environmental assessment in BC is a huge hurdle to clear, and the company is looking forward. The province also remains steadfastly committed to LNG.
The Blue Jays may have lost the series, but if this year’s conference, and the Woodfibre approval are any indication, there’s a good chance that LNG will win in BC.
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