“The tolls associated to it made it uneconomical” said a spokesperson.
With much of Europe desperate for alternative sources of energy to replace Russian supplies, Canada had a significant opportunity to help our allies, weaken Russia’s economy, and benefit financially. But that opportunity was missed. The Prime Minister said there was no business case for expanded Canadian LNG exports to Europe, and years of policies meant to strangle energy sector projects have had a significant negative impact on the sector. As a result, other LNG producers like the United States and Qatar have benefitted.
In the latest sign of the opportunity our nation squandered, Spanish firm Repsol SA has announced that they are abandoning the idea of expanding their facility in Saint John, New Brunswick. The expansion would have been aimed at increasing Canadian LNG exports to Europe. In a statement a spokesperson for Saint John LNG – a company owned by Repsol SA – said it would have been “uneconomical”:
“Following a study carried out by the company, it was determined to not continue with the Saint John liquefaction project as the tolls associated to it made it uneconomical,” Michael Blackier, a spokesperson for Saint John LNG, the Repsol-owned entity that operates the terminal, said by email Thursday.”
Making this all the more disappointing is that this was a rare project that the federal government approved of. Both the natural resource minister Jonathan Wilkinson and the Prime Minister expressed support for the expansion, with the Prime Minister even saying the regulator process could be sped up. But this is the consequence of years of anti-energy sector policy. Costs – many imposed by government – add up, and a convoluted regulatory process – meant to slow down/stop projects – discourages investment. As a result, other countries will achieve the heightened economic benefits that could have been ours.