OTTAWA – Legendary investor Warren Buffett’s decision to move away from a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Quebec is delayed in a new report as a sign that the LNG sector in Canada and elsewhere is on unstable ground.
Global Energy Monitor report released Monday says Buffett decision in March highlights growing political and economic uncertainty facing LNG projects as governments around the world tout liquefied natural gas as a clean alternative to l coal energy.
Canada has become a major proponent of expanding liquefied natural gas as a means to fight climate change abroad and create jobs and income at home, with many multi-billion dollar projects to facilitate LNG exports to Asia and elsewhere in the works.
However, Global Energy Monitor has suggested that Buffett’s decision to withdraw the planned investment of $ 4 billion from investment company Berkshire Hathaway in an LNG export terminal in Saguenay, Quebec, is a sign of things to come up.
Neither Buffett nor Berkshire Hathaway explained the reasons for the decision, but the company behind the terminal project blamed “the current Canadian context” – an apparent reference to national rail blockades and demonstrations against the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia at the time.
“While many projects are facing opposition from local communities, the case of the LNG terminal Energie Saguenay in Quebec shows the potential of a local demonstration to galvanize a national movement,” according to the report by the Global Energy Monitor.
Global Energy Monitor is an international non-governmental organization that lists the world’s fossil fuel infrastructure and advocates for more investment in renewable energy.
Monday’s report suggests that political opposition is just one of many new challenges in the LNG sector, another being a dramatic drop in gas prices due to oversupply at a time when the COVID- pandemic 19 dropped demand.
As a result, projects to build pipelines, terminals and other infrastructure in Canada and around the world have been suspended – or abandoned.
The report lists 13 LNG projects in Canada alone that have been canceled or suspended in recent years. This includes a $ 10 billion LNG export facility in Nova Scotia, which is now in limbo as the company behind the project tries to decide whether to proceed.
One of those apparently unaffected is LNG Canada’s Coastal GasLink, which has been the target of protests and roadblocks this year on a road that crosses the traditional territory of Wet’suwet’en in Colombia. British. The company said last month that it expects 2,500 people to work on the 670-kilometer pipeline from Dawson Creek to Kitimat by September.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 6, 2020.
Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
Video: Trans Mountain pipeline project crosses another hurdle (Global News)