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Canadian Energy Centre

To reduce emissions, the world needs more LNG: report

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The LNG Canada export terminal is about 85 per cent complete. Photo courtesy LNG Canada

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Deborah Jaremko

Wood Mackenzie says spending needs to rise by $400 billion over the next decade

An additional $400 billion investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects around the world is needed over the next decade to ensure energy security and achieve emissions reductions, according to a new report by Wood Mackenzie.  

Without increased LNG supply, it said Asian countries in particular will continue to rely on high-emitting coal as they grow power generation. 

“On a global scale, limited supplies of LNG risks stalling progress towards 2050 net zero targets in the near term,” says the report by Wood Mackenzie and Petronas, one of the joint venture owners of the LNG Canada project.  

The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rerouted LNG shipments from Asia to Europe, contributing to record coal consumption in 2022, analysts noted.  

“A key pillar of the energy transition is to reduce the consumption of coal. A critical step in that transition is to shift power production from coal to much lower-emissions gas. The shift helps drive immediate decarbonization while renewables, energy storage, and other clean energy technologies scale-up.” 

Power generation from natural gas reduces emissions by half on average, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). LNG from Canada can deliver an even bigger decrease, reducing emissions by up to 62 per cent, according to a 2020 study published in the Journal for Cleaner Production. 

Global natural gas use is rising, driving increased demand for LNG. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest outlook projects natural gas consumption will rise to 197 quadrillion BTU in 2050, up from 153 quadrillion BTU in 2022.  

“Gas can be used to not only replace coal for power generation, but also to provide fuel for blue hydrogen production, and as an essential source of flexibility as electricity grids incorporate increasingly large amounts of intermittent renewable generation,” Wood Mackenzie said.  

“Gas also plays a critical role in non-power sectors such as commercial and residential heating, as a feedstock for chemicals and fertilizers, and as an energy source for metals, cement, and other manufacturing processes.” 

Canadian LNG has advantages in a lower emission world, the report said.  

“Canada’s western ports are ideally positioned to supply growing Asian demand because its shipping routes aren’t dependent on an uncongested Panama Canal. The country is also poised to produce some of the lowest-emission LNG in the world,” Wood Mackenzie said.  

The low emissions per tonne of LNG in Canada come from shorter shipping distances to customers, a colder climate, the use of hydroelectricity, and methane emissions reduction from upstream natural gas production. 

Once it starts operating in 2025, LNG Canada will have emissions intensity of 0.15 per cent CO2 per tonne, less than half the global average of 0.35 per cent per tonne, according to Oxford Energy Institute.   

Proposed Indigenous-led project Cedar LNG would have emissions intensity of 0.08 per cent, and smaller-scale Woodfibre LNG would have emissions intensity of 0.04 per cent.   

“The gas and LNG supply and demand mismatch that spawned the current energy crisis and stalled energy transition progress can’t be repeated,” Wood Mackenzie said.  

“This will require a long-term commitment to expanding capacity to ensure reliable, increasingly low-emission, and affordable LNG that won’t be upended by future geopolitical and economic disruptions.” 

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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Alberta

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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