Interview with the District of Kitimat Mayor: Promoting the development of LNG

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Phil Germuth, Mayor, District of Kitimat
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As Canada’s natural gas and LNG industry continues to keep gas players on the edge of their seat; so far in 2018, the market has welcomed some very positive developments which could drastically change Canada’s industry as we know it. In an official statement, the District of Kitimat announced it was ‘very pleased with the decision’ surrounding the BC government removing barriers associated to the LNG industry.

To gain an expert view on the market and ahead of next month’s Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference, Gastech Insights spoke with Phil Germuth, Mayor of the District of Kitimat and confirmed speaker at the upcoming event in Vancouver.

Gastech Insights: With the B.C. Government now offering tax breaks to boost the natural gas industry, what does this mean for the region and what developments do you now hope to see in 2018?  

Mayor Germuth: We do not view the Province’s recent adjustments to the fiscal framework for the development of an LNG export industry as tax breaks; rather these changes simply level the playing field by removing unjustified barriers to investment. The new fiscal framework provides greater opportunity for proposed projects in BC to be competitive in the global environment with jurisdictions that have significantly fewer fiscal barriers.

We hope these adjustments will help facilitate an environment within which LNG Canada’s joint venture partners feel comfortable making a final investment decision in 2018. 

Gastech Insights: When it comes to support for the LNG industry, generally, the First Nations in British Columbia are extremely eager to see developments. What government initiatives has there been to better encourage this communication?  

Mayor Germuth: In this day and age it is imperative that First Nations are at the table and have every opportunity to provide input and direction for activities such as the development of a potential LNG industry. As all levels of government, as well as industry, engage with First Nations on these matters, it is necessary that the views and opinions of all parties are actively conveyed to stakeholders and the general public.

Gastech Insights: As emission targets are become increasingly more important, what regulatory frameworks does your government have in place to meet these?

Mayor Germuth: The District of Kitimat's tagline is “A Marvel of Nature and Industry”. This tagline is reflective of our community’s assets, and it also represents our stance on development. We support industrial development for all the benefits it brings; however, we do not support development at a significant detriment to our natural environment. As a community, we are satisfied that LNG projects proposed in our area have extended appropriate effort to minimize negative effects on the local environment.

Further to this, we also recognize that environmental impacts such as CO2 emissions cannot be contained within man-made boundaries. The proposed LNG export facilities in our area would have the lowest CO2 emissions per tonne of produced LNG, and would provide a greener fuel source to countries that desperately want to wean their energy needs from much more carbon-intensive sources.  

Gastech Insights: What are the biggest opportunities that LNG brings to Canada? 

Mayor Germuth: Development of an LNG industry brings opportunity for investment, jobs, tax revenues, training, and broad social gains for First Nations, Northerners, British Columbians, and all Canadians. The potential benefits of an LNG industry are tremendously broad and extensive. 

Gastech Insights: Why should industry players attend the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference in May?  

Mayor Germuth: The prospect of a final investment decision from LNG Canada in 2018 could result in this year being transformative for our province and nation. As we approach the anticipated timeframe for a decision there is a lot of excitement about the opportunity. The Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference is an occasion to bring stakeholders together for conversations relevant to promoting the development of an LNG industry in BC, as well as how to prepare for an investment decision if one is made.

Speaking at the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference on Day 3, 16th May, Mayor Germuth will address the ‘Multi-tiered Government Approach to Supporting Gas & LNG in Canada’. Register to attend the event now!

Image courtesy of the District of Kitimat