The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission has granted a permit for the Woodfibre LNG project, after it also received a license to export 2.1 million tons of LNG from the Canadian province for a period of 40 years.
CBC reports the US$1.22-billion (C$1.6 billion) project has yet to get the final green light after an environmental impact assessment, and notes there is strong regional opposition to a new fossil fuel facility in the province that has recently become notorious for its government-driven opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
While LNG and natural gas in its original form are a lot less polluting than crude oil, fossil fuel opponents tend to ignore that distinction when opposing new energy projects.
“We simply cannot develop new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to have a livable planet. We’re facing a climate emergency and developing natural gas for export makes absolutely no sense,” one environmental activist from a local environmental organization in Squamish, where Woodfibre LNG will be located, told The Star.
The Woodfibre LNG project, which will supply the commodity to Asian markets where demand for it is the strongest, has already gone through three environmental assessments but has yet to meet additional conditions in this respect, along with some archaeological and technical ones.
However, unlike other energy infrastructure projects, Woodfibre LNG has also received the approval of the Squamish First Nation, whose council voted in favor of the facility after it agreed to a benefits agreement with the company behind the project. It would see the First Nation receive some US$172.2 million (C$225 million) over the life of the project.
Woodfibre LNG would be B.C.’s second LNG project, after the consortium behind the LNG Canada project made the final investment decision on it last year. LNG Canada is much bigger, however, with an initial capacity of 6.5 million tons, and the option to boost this to as much as 26 million tons.