LNG, Lobbyists & policy: Why big money is still a very big problem in BC politics.

Too often government responds to the whispers of lobbyists before the cries of the people.

Andrew Cuomo

Having been a firm critic of fracking and the pursuit of LNG in BC for many more years than the NDP have been in power, I can still recall the time John Horgan said Christy Clark needed to do the LNG math and warned about focusing on LNG too much. Even though he was very open then about being a supporter of LNG, he wasn’t convinced it was prudent to invest so much into it, at the risk of leaving other sectors behind. Even back then he expressed concern about whether or not the world would actually need the supply and criticized the money being invested into communities that may ultimately suffer when the boom goes bust…. 

“Horgan said that while he supports the industry “in principle”, there are many questions that must be answered before the government can claim success. “What are the greenhouse-gas consequences of expanding the industry?” he said. “Will that blow our legislated targets out of the water? Quite possibly.”

~snip~

“Horgan also stated that recent international developments raise doubts about whether liquefied-natural-gas prices will remain high in Asia. According to a recent report by the consulting firm Ernst & Young—which cited Deutsche Bank figures—LNG projects require an Asian price of US$12 to US$13 per million British thermal units (BTU) to be viable.Meanwhile, Russia recently signed a US$400-billion deal to supply China with this fuel for 30 years. According to the financial news service Bloomberg, the negotiated price was US$10.50 to US$11 per million BTU. That’s significantly lower than the Deutsche Bank threshold. Horgan predicted that the Russia-China deal will drive down the LNG price in Asia.As the Straight went to press, LNG was selling at US$15.23 in the world’s largest LNG market, Japan. That’s down from a peak of US$17.20 in June 2012…”

Hmm. So in 2014, LNG projects needed an Asian price of US $12-$13 dollars per BTU to be viable. ( trying to locate a current viability price for comparison, will update when I do )

Whats the Asian price of LNG being paid right now on incoming deliveries? Export plants in Brunei just sold LNG for delivery in March, at a low of $3.90 – $3.95 per BTU… far below the viable price needed to profit given above.

We are sitting at a 10 year low right now, due to a massive glut from so many trying to cash in globally. This has been the case for quite a while, and these low prices and plethora of projects globally, is why Horgan doubled down on the subsidies. Without extensive credits and breaks, LNG Canada wouldn’t have invested at all because the industry just isn’t profitable in BC unless its subsidized heavily.

That’s a fact. Here is an excellent, factual analysis of those subsidies: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/BC%20Office/2019/05/CCPA_BC%20Critiquing%20the%20LNG%20Canada%20agreement_FINAL_190506.pdf

The only people heralding the prosperity and opportunities LNG in BC will bring, along with how it will save the world, are those with skin in the game who will benefit: the various LNG alliances, CAPP and all the elected politicians who carry on with this facade as if some of us can’t read or understand financial reports and analyst forecasts.

And to be fair, most don’t read these things and just blindly digest whatever sugar coating is fed to them. Because both the NDP and the BC Liberals are in support of all this, supporters of either don’t engage on the subject, nor will they criticize even when they agree with what I am saying.

It’s all so oddly silent and shameful to watch and I often wonder what Rafe Mair would say about this all. He had colourful but accurate comments about CAPP and the big papers in BC..😂

But I digress. Lets get back to the all the pro LNG boosters who have invested so much into forcing this industry in BC, who won’t talk about things like this: Seeds of next LNG glut already being sown. 

“But while the current glut is set to come to an end, which should lift rock-bottom spot prices, the race to give the green light for new projects has intensified, the analysts said. The winners in the next race would be low-cost producers with clear funding plans and some LNG service companies.

“Competition to sanction the next wave of LNG projects has intensified risking another glut in the mid-2020s,” Bernstein said.”The seeds of the next cycle are already being planted.”

After a series of final investment decisions over the last 12 to 18 months, Bernstein expects a further 70 million tonnes a year of LNG projects to get the green light for construction over the next 18 months.

The bottom line for LNG investors is profit. Let’s be real, there is nothing altruistic about the pursuit of these projects, no matter how much proponents try to paint them green and clean. Analysts have been predicting for a while, that low LNG prices will force many producers to shut down : https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/lng-glut-to-force-us-shutdowns-fesharaki-20191212-p53j8u

Which is why the recent news that Chevron is selling their stake in Kitimat LNG and cutting funding to the other LNG investments is no surprise to anyone who has followed global forecasts. https://canada.chevron.com/our-businesses/kitimat-lng-project

While politicians continue to pretend all is well and that this is an amazing opportunity for prosperity for BC, a new report taking the shipping and cruise line world by storm this week, shows that LNG is worse than what is being used now, for climate change. This report detailed by Hellenic Shipping News gives all the details: https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/liquefied-natural-gas-as-marine-fuel-revealed-to-be-worse-than-business-as-usual-for-the-climate/

A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has found that the most popular Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) ship engine, particularly for cruise ships, emits between 70% and 82% more life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the short-term compared to clean distillate fuels. The shocking new report, “The climate implications of using LNG as a marine fuel”, comes as the shipping sector grapples with its enormous climate footprint, and more ship operators are turning to LNG as a purported climate solution.

Read the report: https://www.stand.earth/publication/climate-implications-using-lng-marine-fuel-international-council-clean-transportation

The ICCT report examines the lifecycle GHG emissions from marine fuels, including a previously poorly understood source of climate emissions from LNG-powered ships — the unintentional releases of the climate super-pollutant methane from ship engines, known as methane slip. The authors found that using LNG could actually worsen the shipping industry’s climate impacts compared to marine gas oil (MGO) when considering the amount of heat these emissions will trap over a 20-year period.

Isn’t that something? This is called unintended consequences perhaps, and kind of really puts a damper on efforts to promote clean BC LNG for shipping. You can’t claim its clean when its being used in an engine that increases emissions.  (Which engines are those BC ferries using? )

Which makes you wonder about forging ahead with the LNG bunkering, refueling and export plans for LNG happening in the Fraser river on Tilbury Island, along with expansion planned for the port on Roberts Bank. I talked about that a while back in this post: https://lailayuile.com/2019/10/26/saturday-morning-coffee-round-up-election-2019-lng-in-delta-money-laundering-inquiry-stunner/

With so many questions and additional problems relating the governments own reports detailing the lack of science and lack of answers related to fracking, I can surmise the heart of this expansion is jobs.

Since there has been little to no effort being put into other infrastructure projects of any kind up north to provide jobs other than site C, we have continued the same single minded, boom and bust focus Horgan chided  Clark for.  And to what end when respected analysts are already forecasting another LNG glut right for when Canada LNG comes online?

How much will Canadian LNG be selling for overseas, per BTU then? Does anyone ask our politicians these questions? Do they ask themselves these questions? Or do they only look as far as the next election?

It’s one helluva financial gamble, by any perspective, and with Chevrons sale  and decision to stop funding Kitimat LNG, the writing is on the wall, in my opinion.

Which brings me to the lobbyists. Yes, big money is still impacting BC politics, thanks to industry groups with deep pockets wanting to impact and influence policy decisions in the province. And while some register to lobby politicians, savvy lobbyists often register to lobby deputy ministers and staffers who are more directly involved in policy making.

I would love to show you all the screenshots of all the lobbying going on relating to LNG, but it’s just way too much to show you individually. I would suggest you head over to the Lobbyist registry & search the following items separately: LNG & Site C. This is the link, click on public access https://justice.gov.bc.ca/lra/

What you will find are lists of oil and gas associations, resource companies and others who all want to talk to ministers, staffers and deputy ministers about their goals. Some of those goals include ensuring the industry remains competitive, incentives to encourage electrification of the gas industry ( read bigger subsidies via lower hydro rates) policy changes that promote LNG, promote the oil and gas sector, etc etc etc…. CAPP alone has an extensive list of registrations with other industry partners on that aspect alone.

I see a lot of complaining online about activists by pro resource groups and people. Those damn activists, put them all in jail, they cry.

But they never complain about how deep industry pockets get direct access to government officials and staff. That kind of influence is apparently ok…when its industry. If we started raising cash to access government officials directly you can bet industry would be screaming loudly.

No one tells the public what the final result was or if the lobbying was successful.

We don’t know who actually motivated policy changes. I do know that in the Ministry of mines and energy, at least one high level staffer has helped direct policy through successive governments for both hydro and resources. That same person is being actively lobbied right now.

What I do know is you and I do not have that kind of elite access. Which is why activism exists. And it works well as we have seen with the recent announcement from Blackrock -worlds largest investment manager – that it will avoid fossil fuel investments that have a high sustainability related risk.  https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/16/activists-respond-to-blackrocks-plan-to-tackle-climate-change.html 

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager with nearly $7 trillion assets under management, will begin to exit investments in coal production, introduce funds that ban fossil-fuel stocks and vote against corporate managers who aren’t making progress on fighting climate change.

“Awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” Fink wrote in the annual letter to company executives. “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance

Oh, is that another thing industry and government didn’t tell you? Imagine that. I can’t imagine why…

When a photo says all you need to say….

As you likely know, Horgan did a minor shuffle….Michelle Mungall has been demoted as Minister of  Site C, Fracking & LNG and is now the Minister of Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs. Bruce Ralston takes over her spot in the infamously contentious file.

This is Mungall during her swearing in. 😉

Screenshot_20200122-100818_Samsung Internet

 

 

A Frosty Friday Message

Come fiery souls

Shine bright to guide those frozen

In fear of new ways.

Revolution ~ haiku, LY

I stepped out carefully onto the frost covered deck early this morning, to hang the hummingbird feeder back out for our local Anna’s hummingbirds that over winter here. The sun was rising through the fir trees along the back and side and transformed everything it touched into sparkling diamonds. Sliding back inside – literally, the deck was a sheet of ice – I grabbed my phone and took this shot. Sun on crystalline snow. Fire and ice. A haiku formed rapidly…a call to warriors of the heart to rise, in government and in our communities, to forge new paths forward in a world of uncertainty. We were stuck home this morning due to the aftermath of the last storm, and now I’ll be quick as we are under another snowfall and wind warning for tonight. While I’m sure all you northern friends stuck in double digit sub-zero temps are laughing at us, trust me, life down here is built to withstand winds and heavy nonstop rain…not freezing cold or snow.

I want to quickly leave a few things for you to go off and read if you drop by. There is so much important news this week not being covered by major outlets in depth.

  1.  The quite alarmingly quarterly report on Site C that was finally released, is full of rather disturbing details that Hydro, Horgan and Mungall would rather you didn’t pay attention to. But, you must because ultimately you and I are going to be paying for this mess, since industry hydro rates are far less than ours….https://thenarwhal.ca/a-colossal-waste-bc-hydro-report-hints-at-cost-overruns-at-site-c-dam/  Falling concrete chunks in the diversion tunnels, a problematic drainage location above the tunnels and of course, the strong likelihood of massive cost overruns….  ( gee its not like we all didn’t tell govt this, over and over and over and…well you get the idea)
  2.  BC is out of tools in the toolbox when it comes to the TMX aka KinderMorgan pipeline. https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/ndp-out-of-tools-to-stop-tmx?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR3mnGuC5LZ3fO7wTK8iggi3ljKt7ABR4LcdccRJwN0F70KkrC5yeCrinVA But wait….they didn’t actually use all the tools in their toolbox, because they didn’t withdraw from the equivalency agreement with the feds! One wonders why that didn’t happen, because its something they brought up often while in opposition.  
  3. The maybe not so minor details regarding completed work for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline, and why UNDRIP matters here. From the Unist’ot’en facebook page: This is interesting because I’ve read that the review period for that segment of pipeline ends January 20th. If this is accurate, one wonders why that injunction was even granted. Whether or not this project was approved, if an error was made, UNDRIP principles should be now applicable in this circumstance.

That’s it. I’m off to batten down the hatches again and spray some more silicone on my shovel…🤣

Don’t forget to check out a couple of other new posts I’ve put up over the last few storms we’ve been sequestered:

https://lailayuile.com/2020/01/15/confidential-rcmp-report-reveals-chilling-details-and-puts-even-more-focus-on-rich-colemans-decision-to-disband-the-iiget/ 

https://lailayuile.com/2020/01/14/a-must-read-from-ben-parfitt-on-the-risk-fracking-quakes-post-on-peace-river-dams-particularly-the-one-with-foundation-issues/

https://lailayuile.com/2020/01/07/all-eyes-on-wetsuweten/

Confidential RCMP report reveals chilling details…and puts even more focus on Rich Colemans decision to disband the IIGET

“A businessman “connected to Asian organized crime” was allowed by a British Columbia government employee to buy part of a B.C. Lottery Corp. casino, according to a confidential RCMP report obtained by Global News.

And the government employee was later hired in a B.C. casino.

The explosive accusation is just one example of organized crime’s alleged infiltration and corruption of B.C. government casinos, according to a January 2009 RCMP anti-illegal gaming unit report.

The report also contained jarring allegations of victimization, including that women with gambling debts in Asia were being trafficked to B.C. and forced into sex work, and that children in B.C. had been thrown in the trunk of a car and warned at gun-point that their father owed $300,000.

The report argued the RCMP anti-illegal gaming unit (IIGET) should target the drug cartels using B.C. Lottery Corp. casinos in combination with illegal casinos, to launder money…”

This is just another chilling and disturbing revelation revealed by Sam Cooper today, in his new article you must read here : https://globalnews.ca/news/6403415/organized-crime-bc-casinos-rcmp-report/?utm_medium=Twitter&utm_source=%40globalnews

And once again, it raises compelling questions as to why so many aspects of how and why organized crime not only expanded but flourished in British Columbia, leads back to Rich Coleman and his decision to shut down the Integrated Illegal Gaming Enforcement Team while the BC Liberals were in government.

Its a decision I’ve revisited here on the site quite a few times, in The Coleman Files, particularly through a series of video interviews undertaken by former independent investigative reporter Sean Holman. I suspect Sean Holman’s work may very well become evidence at some point, which is why its very important to keep this information in the public realm. And it’s only part of the reason why current BC Liberals have very little credibility on this and most other issues they try to sound morally superior on.

This all happened under their leadership. It was fostered and perpetuated by a willful blindness and negligence while revenues from gaming filled the government treasury.The sad truth and result is that organized crime and dirty blood money has paid for a lot of things in this province, since part of lottery revenues is handed out in community gaming grants specifically created to offset the harm done through gambling.

There are so many posts here about Rich Colemans activities while a sitting minister in government, but here are the most relevant:

I’m thankful for Sam Cooper and his persistence with this story. Its because of him that so much of these details are coming to light, and this report clearly indicates widespread corruption in government bodies and agencies. It’s why I was and still am concerned about the limited scope of the inquiry, because corruption doesn’t begin and end when political parties change power seats in the legislature. It’s rooted in the regulatory and oversight branches, it exists in places and positions that don’t usually change when governments do. And its the system that allowed all this to happen in the first place, so its my hope that if greater evidence is brought forth, the inquiry will be expanded.

Before I go, something else caught my eye today in Ontario that gave me shivers.

In the context of the stories above with Coleman’s disbanding of the IIGET, it makes me wonder why the RCMP is shutting down its financial crimes unit in Ontario, when a former top mountie says its a big mistake….

Despite multiple recent reports that identified Toronto’s vulnerability to money laundering, the RCMP has decided to disband its Ontario financial crimes unit, the Star has learned.

Announced internally on December 10 in a series of meetings held in detachments across the province, the decision will see 129 officers and eight civilian staff re-assigned to other units, including organized crime, anti-terrorism and drugs, according to an internal email obtained by the Star.

Breaking up a stand-alone unit devoted to investigating complex and difficult cases has financial crime experts worrying that fraud and money laundering activity will increase.

“It just won’t work,” said Garry Clement, former director of the RCMP proceeds of crime unit. “The RCMP, in my view, has sort of lost sight of the fact that taking on financial crime requires a very high degree of expertise.”

Sigh. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  Good luck with that Ontario. I wonder if Rich Coleman advised on that decision…

Anyways, go read Sams amazing story linked to in the beginning. And he has an excellent tweet thread here if you need the coles notes while you are at work.

https://twitter.com/scoopercooper/status/1217454353453404160