Canada Adds Voices Against Anti-LNG Report [UPDATE]
A report from the climate activist organisation Global Energy Monitor (Gem) suggesting development of new LNG export and import facilities is undermining global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is being vigorously discredited by the lobby group for Canada’s oil and gas producers.
Susannah Pierce, director of external relations for LNG Canada, which is developing a 28mn mt/yr gas liquefaction and export terminal on Canada’s west coast, has also weighed in to discredit the report. Her response to the report – including a link to the document itself – is posted on Natural Gas World’s Global Gas Perspectives platform.
And Michael Binnion, CEO of Quebec producer Questerre Energy, took to LinkedIn on July 2 with a post characterising the report as “recycled extremism” that had already been debunked twice in the past seven years by environmental groups far more respectable than the activists behind Global Energy Monitor.
“For anyone who wants to believe this ridiculous idea, I invite you to move your 'clean' hibachi briquette barbeque inside the house to replace your now 'dirty' natural gas stove,” Binnion wrote.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (Capp), which represents more than 80% of Canadian oil and natural gas production, said July 3 the conclusions of the Gem report are “factually incorrect” and sharing of the report’s untrue statements is unacceptable.
“This is another deliberate attempt by a foreign-funded activist organization to discredit the Canadian oil and natural gas industry,” Capp’s statement said. “This group, along with the wider activist community, is positioning itself against global development, and the lifting of a billion people out of poverty through access to clean energy.”
In its statement, Capp referred to International Energy Agency (IEA) scenarios that suggest natural gas demand is expected to increase by 43% and global gas supplies will meet 25% of total energy demand by 2040. Renewables will meet about 7% of total energy demand by 2040, Capp said, again citing the IEA.
Gem concludes its 21-page report by comparing the current LNG development boom with the historical expansion of coal-fired power generating capacity – widely attributed as one of the most intense sources of carbon emissions over the past half century. To assess the respective global footprints, Gem says it studied the life-cycle emissions of 574 GW of new coal-fired generating capacity and compared them to the life-cycle emissions of 856mn mt/yr of LNG export capacity it claims is under construction or in pre-construction - an estimate which is far higher than the 610.67mn mt/yr of capacity that is either under construction (79.75mn mt/yr) or planned or proposed (530.92mn mt/yr), according to the Petroleum Economist's 2019 World LNG Factbook.
“The results of the life-cycle comparison, including fugitive methane emissions, show that current proposals for new LNG terminal capacity, if fully developed, would lock in global warming impacts that are roughly equivalent, when considered on a 100-year horizon, to those of current proposals for new coal-fired power plants,” the report said. When considered on a 20-year horizon, emissions from LNG developments would exceed those of the coal projects by 25%.
The most “sensible” answer to this, the report concludes, is to implement a global moratorium on further LNG terminal construction.
But the Canadian producer group, citing a 2015 study of life-cycle GHG intensities of both coal and LNG, estimates that by 2040, about 1,500mn metric tons of CO2-equivalent (MtCO2e) emissions could be eliminated each year if new power plants in China, India and Southeast Asia ran on natural gas instead of coal. The impacts, it said, would be even greater if those plants were fueled by Canadian LNG exports, which the same study shows have 50% lower life-cycle emissions than coal.
“For every LNG facility built in Canada, global emissions are reduced by 100 MtCO2e per year,” Capp said. “Five Canadian LNG facilities would meet or exceed [Canada’s] commitment under the Paris Agreement, based on incremental new power generation demand displacing coal.”