Canadian natural gas not a solution to Europe’s crisis, experts say

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is due to arrive in Canada on Sunday and will meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss energy security.

During a press conference organized by the Réseau Action Climat earlier this week, several groups expressed their fears about this meeting which should lead to agreements intended to allow the construction of new facilities to export liquefied natural gas (LNG ) in Europe. These agreements aim to remedy the energy crisis linked to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

A few weeks ago, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly raised the possibility of Canada exporting hydrogen and liquefied natural gas to help Europe end its dependence on Russian oil.

A liquefied natural gas filling station for trucks in Dortmund, western Germany.

Photo: Getty Images / INA FASSBENDER

According to Caroline Brouillette, National Policy Director of Climate Action Network Canada, the Canadian oil and gas industry is trying to instrumentalize Germany’s energy insecurity to promote the export of liquefied natural gas. She fears the construction of these new infrastructures.

Ms. Brouillette is of the opinion that some members of the federal government have spoken out for this industry in recent months and that discussions about the construction of new facilities in eastern Canada run counter to both countries’ greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges to combat climate change.

While the threat of difficult winters to come in the coming years hangs over Germany due to the energy crisis, let us keep in mind the summer that has just happened in Europe, marked by heat waves and droughts . We no longer have the luxury of responding to a single crisis at a time. »

A quote from Caroline Brouillette, Climate Action Network Canada

Currently, there are no natural gas export terminals operating in Canada, but several projects are on the table in eastern Canada.

During the Climate Action Network’s press conference, various stakeholders pointed to three potential LNG production projects in Eastern Canada.

Goldboro: a pipeline that would cross Quebec

The Alberta company Pieridae Energy plans to build a natural gas liquefaction plant in Goldboro, Nova Scotia, which would transport natural gas from Alberta for export to Europe.

The company also says it wants to use an existing pipeline that passes through Quebec. However, according to Ecojustice lawyer James Gunvaldsen Klaassen, this pipeline is already in use at maximum capacity. So a new one would have to be built.

If this project proceeds, it would become Nova Scotia’s largest GHG emitter, approximately 3.7 megatonnes per year, which would completely destroy Nova Scotia’s ability to meet its emission reduction targets. of GHG and would negate any gains it has made. »

A quote from Me James Gunvaldsen Klaassen, Ecojustice

The project could also include a floating liquefaction plant.

Aerial view of the liquefied natural gas terminal project site in Nova Scotia.

Calgary-based Pieridae Energy officials say plans for an onshore LNG terminal in Goldboro, Nova Scotia, have been upgraded to floating barge facilities.

Photo: Courtesy: Pieridae Energy

The Repsol project in New Brunswick

Located in New Brunswick, the Saint John LNG project of the multinational Repsol would be the most advanced projects, according to Ecojustice, because there are already installations on site. The proposal received the support of the premier of the province.

Last June, Blaine Higgs indicated that the Saint-Jean plant, which imports gas from the United States to liquefy it, could easily be converted to liquefy hydrogen in order to export it to Europe.

The Premier also said he has had discussions with First Nations and with investors who have shown interest in the province’s shale gas resources, despite a moratorium that prevents the launch of new projects. shale gas development in New Brunswick.

There is a lot of opposition to shale gas development in New Brunswick. This raises a lot of concern not only with regard to the fight against climate change but also about the marine environment of the region. »

A quote from Matt Abbott, Conservation Council of New Brunswick
The Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Canaport LNG Terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick

Photo: Radio-Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador LNG

The third project identified by the Climate Action Network is that of the company LNG Newfoundland, which notably envisages the construction of a floating liquefaction plant off the coast of Newfoundland.

The gas would be transported through an approximately 600 kilometer subsea pipeline to onshore facilities. It would then be liquefied and then shipped abroad.

Methane leaks in a gas pipeline are always dangerous, but even more so in a pipeline of this lengthpointed out Mr.e James Gunvaldsen Klaassen, who fears the negative repercussions of this project on marine fauna and flora.

Several years before exporting gas

All these projects are problematicsays Hugo Séguin, teacher at the School of Applied Politics at the University of Sherbrooke and senior advisor at Copticom.

The first question that must be asked is this: when will these projects be carried out? Are we talking about a horizon of five, seven or ten years, and that, while the crisis in Europe is a medium and short term crisis? argued Hugo Séguin during the conference.

In a context of energy transition in Europe, where the share of natural gas is decreasing, these projects must integrate the problems related to greenhouse gases and also survive the authorization process in Canada. There is a long way from the cut to the lips. »

A quote from Hugo Séguin, teacher and advisor at Copticom

These remarks are in line with the conclusions of a report published a few days ago by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), which recalls the plans to reduce gas consumption in Europe and which calls for increasing energy efficiency as well as than the use of renewable energy sources. While there may be demand for some fossil fuels, markets like Norway make more sense to meet immediate needs than Canada.concludes this study.

Furthermore, the researchers point out that Canada won’t be able to increase supply until 2025, when Europe’s energy needs will be largely met by then.

Green hydrogen interests Germany

Berlin is interested in the green hydrogen that Canada could produce. A government official who requested anonymity has also confirmed that a hydrogen agreement will be signed in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, during Chancellor Scholz’s official visit to Canada.

Stephenville will be home to a zero-emissions power plant where wind power will be used to produce hydrogen and ammonia for export. However, Canada does not yet have the infrastructure to produce large quantities of green hydrogen, according to Amit Kumar, holder of the Industrial Research Chair at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

During his three-day visit beginning Sunday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Montreal, Toronto and Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador.

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