The Scale of Natural Gas Development and Maximizing Net Social Benefits

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BC has an abundance of shale gas reserves currently earmarked for the development of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export market, yet there are many questions about how the scale and nature of development affects resource rents, GHG emissions, water supply and quality, and communities. This project aims to plug that information gap in four targeted areas: a) the economic analysis of markets for natural gas and returns to the province and British Columbians; b) investigating the types of energy sources planned to be exploited during LNG production and the realistic cost implications to industry of using renewable energy sources rather than burning gas (and therefore emitting GHGs); c) studying the cumulative impacts of natural resource development on northern communities; and d) analyzing emerging concerns over hydrological impacts, including the availability of groundwater under a changing climate, and water quality impacts from fracking.
Given the potential contribution of LNG exports to the BC economy and also its potential use as a “bridge fuel” to a low carbon future, this project asks a critical question: Can BC’s natural gas reserves be developed in a way that maximizes net social benefits to British Columbians while also decreasing net global GHG emissions?

Project lead: Dr. Nancy Olewiler, Professor of Public Policy, SFU

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