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Canadian Energy Centre

Indigenous trade mission to China highlights opportunity for B.C. LNG


5 minute read

Karen Ogen is CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance. Photo supplied to Canadian Energy Centre

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

First Nations LNG Alliance CEO Karen Ogen takes message of coastal nations to Beijing

Participating in a recent trade mission to China has strengthened Karen Ogen’s view of the opportunity for B.C. liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

For the CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, one of 10 Indigenous business leaders in the Canada China Business Council’s trade mission to Beijing in late October, the opportunity was as obvious as the grey smog that blankets the air above China’s capital city on most days. 

“So much of the problem with smog and air quality stems from using coal-fired plants to generate electricity,” says Ogen, a former elected chief and councillor of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation.  

Researchers have found that switching Chinese coal plants to natural gas from Canada could reduce emissions by up to 62 per cent. 

“The Chinese don’t view LNG as a fossil fuel. They see it as an important part of moving towards carbon neutrality,” Ogen says. 

“There are huge opportunities for LNG in China and other Asian markets, especially for the coastal nations in British Columbia. The need is there, and the appetite is there. It’s up to us to take advantage of it.” 

Ogen previously took trips to China between 2015 to 2018. The most recent trade mission was organized by the Canada China Business Council specifically for Indigenous businesses, organizations and leaders to build connections and partnerships to develop export markets and sources of investment to facilitate exports. 

Ogen said the delegation gained valuable insights into new forces shaping China in the post-pandemic era, notably around using social media platforms such as TikTok as part of their marketing and e-commerce outreach to the Chinese market. But she remains struck by the appetite for LNG as a lever to lower emissions as energy demand rises. 

“China produces 30 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — it’s the world’s largest emitter and they are committed to addressing that,” Ogen says. 

The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects natural gas demand in the Asia Pacific region will increase by 55 per cent in the next three decades, reaching 54 trillion cubic feet in 2050. 

Canada can make a meaningful difference in helping reduce emissions by supplying Asian markets with LNG, she says. 

“Converting coal-fired plants in China to LNG produced in Canada would make a bigger impact on greenhouse gas emissions than anything we do in Canada,” Ogen says.  

“Canada needs to think globally when it comes to climate change.” 

The United States already has seen this opportunity and is addressing it by aggressively expanding LNG exports. Already one of the world’s largest LNG exporters, there are five new LNG projects being built in the U.S. 

Canada’s first LNG project is under construction with first exports targeted by 2025. Two Indigenous communities on the B.C. coast are advancing their own proposed terminals, Cedar LNG and Ksi Lisims LNG 

Ogen doesn’t want to see Canada or B.C.’s coastal First Nations shut out of the opportunities she saw on the trade mission. 

“The message we received from China’s officials was very clear. They are prepared to do business with Canada and Canada’s Indigenous business community. There are opportunities for investment,” she says.  

“But we need governments to work with us to realize those opportunities. If we pursue them seriously, there are real economic benefits for Canada and First Nations.” 

And the five-day trade mission has convinced Ogen about the need to address the barriers for Canadian LNG. 

“We have a real opportunity to help address climate change while benefiting First Nations,” she says. “It makes too much sense for us not to fight for this.” 

Canadian Energy Centre

Nine major insights from Shell’s latest global LNG outlook

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A worker at Shell’s Hazira LNG import terminal, about 250 kilometers from Mumbai, India. Photo courtesy Shell

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

Led by growing demand in China and the need for energy security, LNG is playing an increasingly important role in global gas supply

Global energy giant Shell has released its latest outlook for world liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply and demand through 2040. Here are nine key insights about what to expect in the future.

1. LNG is playing an increasingly important role in global gas supply. Total world LNG demand is set to continue growing beyond 2040.

2. Global LNG trade reached 404 million tonnes in 2023, an increase of 7 million tonnes compared to 2022. Over the last five years, LNG demand grew by 45 million tonnes, or 13 per cent.

3. In 2040, the world is expected to consume up to 685 million tonnes of LNG, an increase of nearly 70 per cent compared to 2023.

4. The United States became the world’s largest LNG exporter in 2023, shipping 86 million tonnes, followed by Australia, Qatar, Russia and Malaysia.

5. By 2030, North America will supply about 30 per cent of global LNG demand, led by natural gas from major basins including the Appalachia (Marcellus) play in the eastern United States and the Montney play in Alberta and British Columbia. But the global gas market is increasingly exposed to U.S. risks like the Biden administration’s pause on new LNG approvals.

6. China is likely to dominate LNG demand growth as the country’s industries seek to cut carbon emissions by switching from coal to gas. With China’s coal-based steel sector accounting for more emissions than the total emissions of the UK, Germany and Turkey combined, gas has an essential role to play in tackling one of the world’s biggest sources of carbon emissions and local air pollution. China’s gas demand is expected to rise by more than 50 per cent by 2040.

7. Natural gas, delivered as LNG, provides flexibility to balance intermittent solar and wind power generation. In countries with high levels of renewables in their power generation mix, gas provides short-term flexibility and long-term security of supply. Gas provides grid stability, enabling a higher share of renewables in power grids.

8. LNG continues to play a vital role in European energy security, with European nations importing more than 120 million tonnes in 2023, assisted by new regasification facilities. Europe will continue to rely on LNG to support its energy mix through 2030, even as total European natural gas demand is expected to decline by about 25 per cent.

9. South Asia and Southeast Asia are emerging as major LNG import regions, with Vietnam, and the Philippines starting to import LNG to backfill domestic gas declines. From less than 10 million tonnes in 2020, LNG imports to Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines are expected to rise to about 40 million tonnes in 2030 and more than 60 million tonnes in 2040. 

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Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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