B.C. premier John Horgan says LNG projects in the province were never likely to succeed under the previous B.C. Liberal government.
Horgan was answering general questions from the media in Vancouver on Wednesday, September 26, following a press conference to announce that the provincial government is capping rental increases.
“The B.C. Liberals kept piling on costs onto an industry that had not yet even been established in British Columbia, and that scared away some investors as international prices came down,” said Horgan.
He said that after the election the NDP government was presented with a list of challenges the LNG sector was experiencing in the province with respect to its ability to compete against global LNG producers.
The sector expressed its concern that the program the Liberal government put in place would make doing business in the province too costly.
“We have dismantled that package and put forward a new package that’s hopefully going to meet the industry’s competitive needs,” said Horgan.
In March Horgan announced that if LNG Canada decided to go ahead with the project the provincial government would be scrapping the LNG tax and offering LNG Canada exemption on provincial sales tax for its construction.
He also announced that B.C. Hydro would provide the industry with power at standard industrial rates.
The catch was that in order to take advantage of the concessions, which would see LNG Canada realize savings of $6 billion over 40 years, the company would have to announce their Final Investment Decision (FID) by November.
“We will be treating the LNG sector like any other investor. Whether you’re coming to invest in the forest industry, in the mining industry, we want to treat everybody exactly the same.”
Horgan wouldn’t be drawn into answering questions about an expected date for LNG Canada’s FID.
He said instead that a decision by LNG Canada’s Joint Venture Partners to go ahead with the $40 billion project would depend on a number of factors, including market conditions and the availability of low-carbon-intensive gas in some of the fields in northern B.C. and northern Alberta.
“We’ll see what LNG Canada does, but should they proceed with a final investment decision, it would certainly be significant for our province,” said Horgan.
He said the project would generate much-needed revenue for the province that could be spent on expanding services, especially education, health care and housing.