Altacorp Capital on Canada LNG: The need for clear leadership at every level of government

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Dirk M Lever, Head of Research & Managing Director, Institutional Equity Research Energy Infrastructure, Altacorp Capital
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In light of our upcoming Canada LNG Export Conference & Exhibitionwe asked Dirk M. Lever, Head of Research & Managing Director, Institutional Equity Research Energy Infrastructure at Altacorp Capitalto share his views on Canada's gas and LNG infrastructure and how to overcome key pricing and regulatory issues to move the industry forward.

Gastech News: What can be done to overcome pricing and regulatory issues for maximising Canada LNG?

Dirk M. Lever: We can do nothing over pricing, we are price takers in natural gas, particularly in Canada. However, on the regulatory front, we need clear leadership at every level of government – federal, provincial, municipal and native. Far too much self-interests getting in the way, we need to see municipalities band together, we need to see indigenous groups band together, and the Federal Government needs to show leadership so that solutions are found, not roadblocks implemented. It is obvious that the Province cannot do it alone.

Plus, there needs to be a lot of “myths” dispelled. In particular, those that believe a “carbon free world” is possible and affordable today really need a reality check. That natural gas is displacing coal should be better understood, and what this really means for the environment – a proper comparison of CO2 emissions need to be completed and shown so the average person can understand the significant improvement from the shift to natural gas. (For example, coal fired power needs to run constantly, but natural gas can be stopped and started again to meet daily demand loads. Natural gas powered plants are also far more efficient, meaning far greater savings on emissions on a per megawatt utilized basis.) If coal is to be phased out, people need to understand why natural gas is the best choice today. It does not matter if that coal is being displaced in another country, we all breathe the same air. We need to understand man leaves a footprint, and we should do all we can to minimize the depth of that footprint. If the best solution today is to reduce coal emissions with natural gas emissions, and there is a big net saving, then that should be the key focus. This has been lost.

Gastech News: How do you see LNG and gas infrastructure in Canada going forward?

Dirk M. Lever: LNG Infrastructure construction will follow regulatory approvals and more importantly contracts, not the other way around. Companies need clear understanding of regulations, requirements and expectations, not shifting sands of regulations and special interest group interference at critical points. Social licence itself need to be defined and regulated so that large projects do not die a death of a thousand cuts. “Social licence” does not have to meet any standards, so those trying to stop projects should have themselves to meet some level of standards.

Gastech News: What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Canada LNG Export Conference, and what is your final message to our readers?

Dirk M. Lever: Is there hope for LNG in Canada? Or will we always be getting in our own way? I want to believe we can find a path of least resistance while maintaining the integrity of our environment. We often forget that nature is far more adaptive than the people. There is an area in Calgary called the “Weaselhead”, it is an area along the Elbow River that has become a “space of nature” and an area of significant discussion to “preserve”, yet it is not natural at all, it was “created” by the building of the Glenmore Reservoir… We need to keep level heads, and respect for all concerned.

Mr Dirk M. Lever, Head of Research & Managing Director, Institutional Equity Research Energy Infrastructure at Altacorp Capital will participate in a panel discussion on "Building Capital Investment Partnerships and Government Support" at the 4th annual Canada LNG Export Conference, taking place in Vancouver in May. The event will focus on key procurement and investment issues amongst many others to offer an insight into the future of the growing Canadian LNG industry.

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