Europe is in an energy crisis, and Canada has the resources to help. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has underscored the world’s energy challenge.
Renewable sources like wind and solar alone are insufficient to maintain reliable energy supply. Oil and natural gas will continue to be critical even as the world moves to an energy mix with an increasing role for renewables.
Oil and gas production from the Norwegian Continental Shelf is central to Europe’s energy security. Norway is now the largest natural gas supplier to Europe, and is stepping up efforts to do more.
But the reality is Europe needs more natural gas, and it is coming as shipments of LNG from around the world.
Canada is one of the largest natural gas producers, with enormous LNG export potential from both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
The first project, LNG Canada, is in the western province of British Columbia. With leadership by Indigenous communities, additional terminals in the region are advancing.
“Indigenous people are in support of major projects,” says Karen Ogen, former elected chief of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation and CEO of the First Nations LNG Alliance, based in Haisla Nation territory in British Columbia.
“We must do this responsibly, continuing to make sure that we have the highest environmental standards.”
LNG projects on Canada’s west coast are expected to have emissions lower than any other projects in the world, thanks to colder temperatures, lower methane emissions from upstream production, and the use of hydroelectricity to power operations.
Analysts say Europe can benefit from British Columbia’s LNG shipments, even if they are expected to go primarily to Asia.
“More western Canadian LNG would allow a lot of the other sources to go to Europe. It’s like a domino,” said Matthias Bloennigen, director of Americas consulting with UK-based consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Global LNG tanker shipments are already rerouting to meet increased European demand.
“A significant volume [of LNG] that was previously going to other markets, such as Asia or Latin America, is now being consumed by Europeans,” wrote Ciaran Roe, global LNG director with New York-based S&P Global, last fall.
Canadian LNG can help improve energy security in Europe, and around the world. It can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help fight climate change by replacing coal power.
Analysis by Wood Mackenzie found that if Canada grows its LNG export capacity to Asia, net emissions could decline by 188 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year through 2050.
That’s the equivalent of taking 41 million cars off the road annually, or all the cars in Canada.