MLAs returned to Victoria last month for a rare summer sitting of the Legislature.
The reason was the introduction of Bill 30, the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreements Act, which gives the B.C. government the authority to enter into LNG project development agreements.
On July 13, the first day of the session, I was proud to speak to this bill that will set the stage for what I believe is a game-changer for the economic future of our province.
Bill 30 is a vital element in creating the LNG industry in B.C. It enables Pacific NorthWest LNG to move ahead with its plans to invest $36 billion US in our province – the largest private-sector investment in B.C. and Canadian history.
The Pacific NorthWest LNG project at Port Edward on the north coast will create 4,500 construction jobs, 330 direct long-term jobs and 300 local spinoff jobs. Total new tax and royalty revenues for the province are projected to be about $8.6 billion in the next 15 years alone.
Over the next five years, Asian economic growth, combined with the switch to a cleaner-burning fuel, will almost double Asia’s demand for liquefied natural gas.
Fortunately, our province has a natural gas supply that is estimated at 2,933 trillion cubic feet – which could support domestic and export markets for the next 150 years.
That is why I am so excited about the possibilities for LNG development in B.C.
LNG will be a pillar upon which the northwest and northeast regions the province can build their future – but the same can be said for every region and community in B.C. – from Atlin to Enderby, from Armstrong to Zeballos.
As parliamentary secretary for the B.C. Jobs Plan, I have travelled to these regions, and people are filled with genuine optimism about a flourishing LNG industry and what it will mean to their families and their communities.
Developing the LNG sector in a responsible and prudent manner means thousands of jobs will be created in every region of our province, particularly in the trades and skilled labour.
From construction trades labourers, steamfitters and pipefitters, welders, concrete finishers, heavy-equipment operators, gas fitters and a host of others, we need the people and their skills to get the job done.
This is an exciting time for British Columbians who will soon be entering the workforce.
It is a tremendous opportunity for all of them, and we are committed to maximizing the potential that this sector will bring to B.C. so they stand to benefit and have an even better quality of life than we enjoy today.
The added pressure of the demand for skilled labour will be heightened as investments by LNG proponents continue in B.C.
Without a plan such as the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, there would be a significant shortage of skilled labour, especially in the northern regions of our province.
This is why our government created the Blueprint, to ensure that all of these jobs in all regions of B.C. are filled, so we can keep our economy moving forward.
The potential of LNG in B.C. is staggering.
The prospect of just five of 14 LNG operations that are looking to be constructed in B.C. would result in upwards of $100 billion in industry investment over the next decade alone.
For thousands of British Columbians, including many in the Shuswap, an LNG industry will be more than a game-changer.
It will be a life-changer and I’m looking forward to the journey.
Greg Kyllo is Shuswap MLA.