Why partnerships with First Nations are integral to grow the Canadian LNG industry

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Alexandra Ballard, General Manager, First Nations Limited Partnership
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When it comes to the natural gas in Canada, there has been generally very strong support for the LNG industry from the First Nations, with one First Nations leader stating the industry 'brings hope to members in terms of employment and capacity-building for future generations that come."

With the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference taking place next month, 14-16 May in Vancouver, Gastech Insights spoke with Executive Advisory Board Member of the event and General Manager at First Nations Limited Partnership, Alexandra Ballard, to learn more about the First Nations involvement in the evolving industry. 

Gastech Insights: As the First Nations continue to play a prominent role within the gas and LNG sector in Canada, do you believe the commercial involvement between the two will be a world-leading example?

Alexandra Ballard: Successful partnerships between First Nations and industry, such as the ones developed in Canada’s natural gas sector, are instructive for anyone intending to pursue a natural resources project with indigenous partners. A sound financial foundation is just the beginning of achieving and sustaining an effective commercial engagement between First Nations and industry.

Genuine understanding and active respect for the non-economic aspects of proposed development, ensuring these are addressed intelligently in careful pre-planning through effective consultation make good commercial sense. Indeed, this is vital for true reconciliation and should be the benchmark for enduring success in partnerships between industry and the indigenous custodians of the land. Canadian First Nations are commercially minded and recognise the often-difficult balance between building communities for the future and honouring the past.

Gastech Insights: How important are organisations such as ‘First Nations Limited Partnership’ to the development and growth of the gas regional market?

Alexandra Ballard: Commercial and financial partnerships with First Nations are integral to the growth of the natural resources sector in Canada, including the natural gas and associated markets. The proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline (part of the Kitimat LNG project) is the only proposed natural gas pipeline for an LNG facility in British Columbia with a collective commercial benefits agreement with all involved First Nations. FNLP itself remains without precedent in the Canadian natural gas sector; all 16 First Nations along the proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline route from Summit Lake to Kitimat are partners in a unique approach that integrates environmental stewardship, employment, procurement, and other economic benefits, and direct financial transfers over the life of the PTP project to each First Nation community as key target dates within the agreement are met.

The cooperation between First Nations and Project Proponents, within the context of a clear agreement that balances robust economic growth initiatives with dedicated strategies to preserve cultural heritage and the environment, is absolutely vital to the continued growth of the natural gas sector.

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

Alexandra Ballard: The Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition & Conference offers the only opportunity for all parties (including First Nations, provincial and federal governments, project proponents and investors) in the natural gas industry to gather on Canada’s west coast in 2018. In the context of emerging positive global assessments for natural gas prices and demand from industry observers, key decisions will be made this year. The timing of this conference represents an excellent opportunity to gather facts and exchange viewpoints critical to shaping the natural gas sector in the immediate and longer term. 

Would you like to hear more from key industry experts on the gas and LNG industry in Canada and how partnerships with First Nations are crucial? Register to attend the Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference now! 

Image courtesy of First Nations Limited Partnership