B.C.'s LNG job boom overstated, according to think tank’s report

The 100,000 jobs the provincial government has promised due to LNG projects across...

The 100,000 jobs the provincial government has promised due to LNG projects across B.C. is an overblown figure, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The Liberals first used the number during the 2013 election campaign, but CCPA senior economist Marc Lee said the actual number could still be zero.

“The real risk for all of this is that we start really acting on climate change and all of this carbon stays in the ground.”

The report takes aim at the 4,500 jobs it says the government expects to be created by the Pacific Northwest LNG project headed by Petronas. The provincial legislature passed a bill last week that allowed it to enter into an agreement with the Malaysian owned company to build an LNG export terminal near Prince Rupert.

“In its submission to BC’s Environmental Assessment, Petronas estimates that about 3,500 workers would be required at peak construction,” added Lee. “After a short construction period however the plant will only employ 200 to 300 full-time permanent workers.”

The CCPA report states it used “real world experience” from Australia to support their numbers and that the recent prevalent of “fly-in, fly out” workers means any local economic impact is overstated. On the provincial government’s website it outlines a long-term goal of three plants up and operating by 2020. There are currently 20 proposed LNG projects listed on the government’s website.

Lee added any economic windfall reaped by the province in a best-case scenario would be “modest” at best.

“When I look at this I just think LNG is totally the wrong direction to move in. We need to be moving off of fossil fuels, not digging deeper into fossil fuels, and there’s a huge risk that these assets will just become stranded down the road anyways. And then we’ll have to pay compensation to these companies because of this deal that passed in the legislature.”