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Energy

A Wealth-Creating Way of Reducing Global CO2 Emissions

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17 minute read

From the C2C Journal

By Gwyn Morgan

It is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s contention there’s no “business case” for exporting Canada’s abundant, inexpensively produced natural gas as LNG. But Canadians might do well to politely decline management consulting advice from a former substitute drama teacher who was born into wealth and has never had to meet a payroll, balance a budget or make a sale. Bluntly stated, someone who has shown no evidence of being able to run the proverbial lemonade stand. And one whose real agenda, the evidence shows, is to strangle the nation’s most productive and wealth-generating industry. With the first LNG ship finally expected to dock at Kitimat, B.C. over the next year and load Canada’s first-ever LNG export cargo, Gwyn Morgan lays out the business and environmental cases for ramping up our LNG exports – and having them count towards Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Pierre Poilievre’s Axe the (carbon) Tax campaign is a spectacular success. But the Conservative Party of Canada needs its own plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Paradoxically, it’s a fossil fuel that provides much of the answer.

Canada’s rich endowment of natural gas resources offers an immense opportunity to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while also helping to rescue the Liberal-government-ravaged Canadian economy by exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China, Japan, South Korea and the other coal-dependent Asia-Pacific countries. Switching from coal to natural gas for producing electricity and generating heat for buildings and industrial processes can typically reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent for the same unit of output, while all-but eliminating the toxic compounds and lung-clogging particulates emitted from burning coal that shorten the lives of millions living in smog-stricken Asian cities.

More natural gas is urgently needed, since countries throughout Asia – especially China and India – are currently adding even more coal-burning power plants to meet rapidly growing electricity demand. The benefits of fuel-switching are not speculation, but a proven result: the United States’ pronounced switch starting in the mid-2000s from coal to natural gas for electricity materially reduced that country’s CO2 emissions (see accompanying graph), nearly equalling the entire European Union’s emissions cuts, as I wrote about in this previous column.

All I need is the air that I breathe: Switching from coal to natural gas for generating electricity and heat can virtually eliminate toxic air particulates – which is urgently needed in polluted Asian cities such as Anyang City, China (pictured at top left) – while cutting carbon dioxide emissions in half for the same unit of output. The U.S. track record from fuel-switching (depicted in the graph at top right) proves this point. But for now, Asian countries keep piling on coal-fired power plants. (Source of top left photo: vtpoly, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A study by respected consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, released in late 2022, determined the following:

  • “Canada is well-positioned geographically…Western Canadian LNG is much closer to Asia relative to US Gulf Coast LNG, which needs to be shipped through the Panama Canal to get to Asia”;
  • “LNG from Canada would be cost-competitive for northeast Asian importers…due to its relatively low shipping and liquefaction costs”;
  • “LNG from Canada has lower emissions intensity than LNG coming from many other global LNG exporters”;
  • “Asia will not be able to produce enough natural gas domestically to meet its escalating demand, therefore Canadian LNG is a compelling alternative: With its high environmental standards and stewardship, Canada would be a great partner to fill the LNG demand gap in Asia”; and
  • “If Canada aggressively ramps up its LNG exports…the emissions displaced from Canadian LNG would total 5.5 [gigatons of CO2 equivalent] from 2022 to 2050 or 181 [megatons of CO2 equivalent] on average per year, which is equivalent to removing all Canadian cars from the road.”

These impressive benefits – not to mention the opportunity to create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs in our country and provide long-term returns to investors, among them millions of pension-dependent retirees – were recognized long ago by the energy industry, Western provincial premiers and former prime minister Stephen Harper. And for a time it indeed seemed that Canada was on the cusp of an LNG boom. By 2010, there were more than 20 LNG projects in the works in B.C., representing hundreds of billions in total investment. These included Exxon Mobil’s $25-billion West Coast Canada project, Chinese-owned CNOOC’s $36-billion Aurora project, Malaysian firm Petronas’s $36 billion Pacific NorthWest project, and the Shell-led $43 billion LNG Canada project at Kitimat.

But through a decade of trying to navigate Canada’s increasingly obstructive and Byzantine regulatory process, project proponents dropped out one by one. Today LNG Canada is the only one of those major projects left standing. (Two much smaller LNG projects, Woodfibre LNG in Howe Sound at Squamish, and Cedar LNG just a few kilometres from the LNG Canada project, are also proceeding, and one other large project proposed by the Nisga’a First Nation is making regulatory progress.) LNG Canada succeeded only because South African project leader Andy Calitz, backed by the enthusiasm of the Haisla Nation which saw the immense potential to create a self-sustaining, wealth-generating economy for its people, refused to give up.

After five years of construction, the LNG Canada liquefaction facility and loading terminal are nearing completion, with the first LNG ship scheduled to sail to China in 2025 (possibly even this year). The Kitimat plant itself is just one component of Canada’s first LNG export project. TC Energy Corp.’s (formerly TransCanada Pipelines) $15 billion, recently completed Coastal GasLink pipeline will carry the required natural gas from the northeastern B.C. gas fields to the Kitimat terminal. And additional billions of dollars have been invested in drilling natural gas wells, proving up the immense reserves needed to feed the LNG facility for decades to come, and constructing field production systems.

Among numerous large liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that were once proposed for Canada, only the LNG Canada facility at Kitimat, B.C. (top) has survived the Byzantine regulatory process and the Government of Canada’s increasing hostility to LNG; it is currently nearing completion and may load its first ship by year-end. At bottom, the Coastal GasLink pipeline will supply natural gas from northeast B.C.’s producing fields. (Sources of photos: (top) LNG Canada; (bottom) Coastal GasLink)

The economic benefits are myriad. Aside from the jobs created and the wealth generated for the participating companies, B.C.’s annual natural gas royalties are forecast to double from $700 million in 2024 to $1.4 billion in 2027. Benefits for First Nations include significant employment and business opportunities, such as HaiSea Marine’s 50 percent interest in a $500 million contract.

And that’s just LNG Canada’s Phase 1, which will produce 14 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, or approximately 1.8 billion cubic feet (bcf) per day. With that one project coming on-stream, about 10 percent of Canada’s total natural gas production will be exported to international markets, earning premium prices. Construction of Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in 2026 and will double the facility’s output, with first delivery scheduled for 2032. A report from Canada Action estimates that completion of both phases will reduce COemissions in Asian countries as much as would removing 18 million cars from Canadian roads. That is a far more efficient and realistic way of reducing emissions than the Trudeau government’s current scheme to force everyone into electric vehicles within a decade.

Efficient and realistic: The completion of LNG Canada’s Phase 1 and Phase 2 by 2032 is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Asia by the same amount as removing 18 million gasoline-powered cars from Canadian roads – but without the staggering cost and disruption of forcing Canadians into electric vehicles. (Source of photo: James D. Schwartz, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0)

A major barrier for LNG project sponsors has been Canadian regulators’ fixation on a project’s domestic emissions – which come mainly from producing the energy needed to operate the liquefaction and storage process and loading facility. These emissions are miniscule compared to the enormous emissions reductions when natural gas is used instead of coal in consuming countries. But in their zeal to force Canada to “net zero” emissions, government authorities initially tried to veto LNG Canada generating its electricity and compression power using some of the natural gas that will be already piped to the site, insisting instead upon hydroelectric power. This seriously delayed the project due to the need for B.C. Hydro to first build a new dam to supply the required power, along with a new, $3 billion transmission line that has not even begun its environmental review process.

Regulators finally waived their objection so the project could be finished, and it will initially use natural gas for power. But the same objection is now being raised with respect to another major LNG venture proposed in the same region. The Ksi Lisims LNG project would utilize a floating liquefaction and loading facility docked at lands owned by the Nisga’a First Nation north of Prince Rupert. Its natural gas would be supplied through an already-approved but never-built pipeline planned for one of the cancelled LNG projects. The $10 billion venture would have approximately two-thirds the capacity of LNG Canada Phase 1. The facility would be powered by hydroelectricity.

The Ksi Lisims LNG project (pictured in the digital rendering at left), a floating facility proposed to be built north of Prince Rupert and to operate on hydroelectricity, has faced strong objections over its natural gas production process, with the B.C. Wilderness Committee (right) calling on B.C.’s NDP government to veto any further LNG development. (Source of right photo: Behda Mahichi, retrieved from Wildeness Commitee)

Ksi Lisims sounds like a great addition to Canada’s modest LNG lineup, one that British Columbians should applaud. Instead, the proponents have been assailed by objections over the greenhouse gas emissions from the facility and the natural gas production process, and concurrently the B.C. Wilderness Committee is calling on the province’s NDP government to veto any further LNG development. None of these zealots acknowledge the vastly greater reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that will be achieved as consuming countries switch to natural gas.

Prior to the December 2018 UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, Canada’s Conservative Party urged leaders of their nation’s delegation to propose that the use of imported natural gas to displace coal and thereby reduce emissions in one country should count towards the exporting country’s emissions reduction targets. But this made far too much sense for our Prime Minister and his team of anti-fossil-fuel eco-zealots. A new federal government that encourages LNG projects might well see a return of those other big sponsors that were driven off.

And that brings us back to Pierre Poilievre and the need for a Conservative alternative to Trudeau’s carbon tax. LNG export would be not only vastly superior in reducing emissions, it would also create tens of billions of dollars in economic benefits for a beleaguered Canadian private sector. It is beyond high time. A Macdonald-Laurier Institute report, Estimating the True Size of Government in Canada, concludes that Canada’s private sector has shrunk to just 36 percent of the nation’s GDP. That’s right – Canada’s public sector now represents nearly two-thirds of the Canadian economy, if one includes in that measure the vast amounts governments spend on tax credits and other tax-related expenditures, plus the economic impacts of regulating the pricing or outputs of private industries. This is appalling.

Canadian Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre’s “Axe the Tax” campaign can be part of a much-needed conversation about how to actually reduce CO2 emissions and boost the country’s economy; LNG export could be part of both solutions. (Source of photo: The Canadian Press/Paul Daly)

Even more incomprehensible is a research report from the Harvard Kennedy School noting that “Communist” China’s private sector generates “approximately 60% of China’s GDP, 70% of its innovative capacity, 80% of urban employment and 90% of new jobs.” By those measures, the private sector in ostensibly free and democratic Canada, with its allegedly market-based economy, has been reduced to barely half the relative size of the private sector in authoritarian China.

It is clear that for Canada, getting out of the way of privately-driven growth in LNG exports would be a vastly superior environmental alternative to Trudeau’s economically destructive and politically divisive carbon tax, while also helping to reverse the decline of what was once a proud, thriving nation into an indebted, unproductive, government-dominated basket case.

Gwyn Morgan is a retired business leader who was a director of five global corporations.

 

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Energy

Tech giants’ self-made AI energy crisis

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For years tech giants have been helping climate catastrophists shut down reliable fossil fuel electricity. Now the grid they’ve helped gut cannot possibly supply their growing AI needs.

For years tech giants have been helping climate catastrophists shut down reliable fossil fuel electricity, falsely claiming they can be replaced by solar/wind.

Now the grid they’ve helped gut can’t supply their growing AI needs.¹

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  • For the last decade, tech giants such as Apple, Microsoft, Meta, and Google have, through dedicated anti-fossil-fuel propaganda and political efforts, promoted the shutdown of reliable fossil fuel power plants in favor of unreliable solar and wind.
    Image
  • Tech giants have propagandized against reliable fossil fuel power plants by falsely claiming to be “100% renewable” and implying everyone could do it. In fact, they have just paid utilities to credit them for others’ solar and wind use and blame others for their coal and gas use.²
  • In addition to their “100% renewable” propaganda, tech giants directly endorsed people and policies who shut down reliable fossil fuel power plants.E.g., The RE100 coalition, including Google, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft, advocates for policies to “accelerate change towards zero carbon grids at scale by 2040.”³
  • Companies’ propaganda that solar/wind could rapidly replace fossil fuels has proven false. 

    Statewide blackouts in California (2020) and Texas (2021) were caused by the failure of solar/wind—which can go near zero at any time—to make up for lack of reliable fossil fuel capacity.

  • Thanks in significant part to tech giants’ advocacy, we have now shut down enough reliable power plants to be in a nationwide electricity crisis. 

    For example, most of North America is at elevated/high risk of electricity shortfalls between 2024-2028.⁴

  • The anti-fossil-fuel, pro-unreliable solar and wind political climate that tech giants have fostered is getting much worse, as the Administration has pledged to further reduce reliable electricity supply via power plant shutdowns and add artificial demand through EV mandates.

    Biden’s EV mandate: a dictatorial attack on the American driver and the US grid

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    APR 22
    Biden's EV mandate: a dictatorial attack on the American driver and the US grid
     

    Biden’s de facto mandate of over 50% EVs by 2032 is a dictatorial attack on the American driver and the US grid that will 1. Force Americans to drive inferior cars. 2. Place massive new demand for reliable electricity on a grid that is declining in reliable electricity supply.

     

    Read full story
  • While for years tech giants didn’t seem to have any concern about the electricity supply disaster their propaganda and policies were bringing about, they are now very interested because of the accelerating power requirements of computing, above all the hyper-competitive AI space.
  • To function at its potential, AI requires massive amounts of power. E.g., state-of-the-art data centers can require as much electricity as a large nuclear reactor.⁵
  • Electricity demand from US data centers already doubled between 2014 and 2023. Now with the fast growth of energy-hungry AI, demand from data centers could triple from 2.5% to 7.5% of our electricity use by 2030, according to Boston Consulting Group.⁶
  • In large part due to AI, nationwide electricity demand is projected to skyrocket. Official 10-year projections for the US have summer and winter peak demand rising by over 79 gigawatt and over 90 gigawatt. 90 gigawatt is equivalent to adding the entire power generating capacity of California (!)⁷
  • Given the woeful underpowered grid that AI giants have helped bring about, dramatically rising demand from AI will not only contribute to massive electricity shortages, but it will also destroy a lot of potential for AI to occur in the United States.
  • Limited and expensive electricity will force data centers to operate with higher cost or lower capacity within the US—or take a performance hit in the form of increased latency (which can drastically reduce the value of the product) by moving offshore.
  • Not only is offshoring data centers destructive from an economic standpoint, it also poses a substantial security risk. E.g., Building a data center in China—which we already depend on dangerously for critical minerals—gives the CCP physical power over more parts of our economy.
  • Economically, data centers are a gold mine of opportunities.Globally, data centers employed 2M people full-time in 2019, many in high-skill/high-pay jobs—and this number is forecast to increase nearly 300K by 2025.

    Our gutted grid will cost many Americans these opportunities.⁸

  • In the face of woefully inadequate electricity supply for their AI goals, tech giant CEOs are finally speaking up about the lack of power. 

    E.g., Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview that energy will be the #1 bottleneck to AI progress.

  • It is not enough for tech giants to warn us about the lack of reliable power. They need to take responsibility for their anti-fossil-fuel advocacy that helped caused it. And they need to support energy freedom policies that allow all fuels to compete to provide reliable power. 

    End preferences for unreliable electricity

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    DECEMBER 14, 2022
    End preferences for unreliable electricity
     

    Today’s grids are being ruined by systemic preferences for unreliable electricity: 1) no price penalty for being unreliable 2) huge subsidies for unreliables 3) mandates for unreliables Congress should end these now. The Opportunity America, given its combination of abundant domestic energy resources, technological ingenuity, and free-market competition, has …

     

    Read full story
  • An example of a tech giant influencer not taking any responsibility for causing the electricity crisis is BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who pushed companies and governments to adopt “net-zero” policies using mostly solar/wind, but now admits they can’t power AI data centers!
  • A better attitude toward electricity was expressed by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman: “There will always be people who wait and sit around and say ‘we shouldn’t do AI because we may burn a little more carbon’… the anti-progress streak” and this “is something that we can all fight against.”⁹
  • America faces a choice. We can either continue our current trajectory, descend into a Third World grid, and become totally inhospitable for AI, or we can adopt energy freedom policies and become a world leader in both AI and electricity.
  • Share this article with tech giant CEOs and tell them to publicly apologize for damaging our grid and to commit to energy freedom policies.Google: @sundarpichai ([email protected])
    Apple: @tim_cook ([email protected])
    Meta: @finkd ([email protected])
    Microsoft: @satyanadella ([email protected])

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Michelle Hung contributed to this piece.

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Energy

New Report Reveals Just How Energy Rich America Really Is

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By DAVID BLACKMON

 

A new report by the Institute for Energy Research (IER), a nonprofit dedicated to the study of the impact of government regulation on global energy resources, finds that U.S. inventories of oil and natural gas have experienced stunning growth since 2011.

The same report, the North American Energy Inventory 2024, finds the United States also leading the world in coal resources, with total proven resources that are more than 53% bigger than China’s.

Despite years of record production levels and almost a decade of curtailed investment in the finding and development of new reserves forced by government regulation and discrimination by ESG-focused investment houses, America’s technically recoverable resource in oil grew by 15% from 2011 to 2024. Now standing at 1.66 trillion barrels, the U.S. resource is 5.6 times the proved reserves held by Saudi Arabia.

The story for natural gas is even more amazing: IER finds the technically recoverable resource for gas expanded by 47% in just 13 years, to a total of 4.03 quadrillion cubic feet. At current US consumption rates, that’s enough gas to supply the country’s needs for 130 years.

“The 2024 North American Energy Inventory makes it clear that we have ample reserves of oil, natural gas, and coal that will sustain us for generations,” Tom Pyle, President at IER, said in a release. “Technological advancements in the production process, along with our unique system of private ownership, have propelled the U.S. to global leadership in oil and natural gas production, fostering economic benefits like lower energy prices, job growth, enhanced national security, and an improved environment.”

It is key to understand here that the “technically recoverable” resource measure used in financial reporting is designed solely to create a point-in-time estimate of the amount of oil and gas in place underground that can be produced with current technology. Because technology advances in the oil and gas business every day, just as it does in society at large, this measure almost always is a vast understatement of the amount of resource that will ultimately be produced.

The Permian Basin has provided a great example of this phenomenon. Just over the past decade, the deployment of steadily advancing drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies has enabled producers in that vast resource play to more than double expected recoveries from each new well drilled. Similar advances have been experienced in the other major shale plays throughout North America. As a result, the U.S. industry has been able to consistently raise record overall production levels of both oil and gas despite an active rig count that has fallen by over 30% since January 2023.

In its report, IER notes this aspect of the industry by pointing out that, while the technically recoverable resource for U.S. natural gas sits at an impressive 4.03 quads, the total gas resource in place underground is currently estimated at an overwhelming 65 quads. If just half of that resource in place eventually becomes recoverable thanks to advancing technology over the coming decades, that would mean the United States will enjoy more than 1,000 years of gas supply at current consumption levels. That is not a typo.

Where coal is concerned, IER finds the US is home to a world-leading 470 billion short tons of the most energy-dense fossil fuel in place. That equates to 912 years of supply at current consumption rates.

No other country on Earth can come close to rivaling the U.S. for this level of wealth in energy mineral resources, and few countries’ governments would dream of squandering them in pursuit of a political agenda driven by climate fearmongering. “And yet, many politicians, government agents, and activists seek to constrain North America’s energy potential,” Pyle says, adding, “We must resist these efforts and commit ourselves to unlocking these resources so that American families can continue to enjoy the real and meaningful benefits our energy production offers.”

With President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump staking out polar opposite positions on this crucial question, America’s energy future is truly on the ballot this November.

David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.

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