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Energy companies sign up with First Nations LNG Alliance

Blend of industry and First Nations called a significant move
First Nations LNG Alliance former board member Chief Dan George, chief executive officer Karen Ogen and board member Chief Clifford White in Victoria in front of the Legislative Buildings in 2018. (File photo)

LNG Canada and FortisBC are signing on to an Indigenous-based LNG development coalition.

As of March the two companies will become affiliate members of the First Nations LNG Alliance, which has its roots among northwestern First Nations who already have a stake in the LNG industry.

“We believe a formal relationship with industry is essential to building confidence in our burgeoning LNG sector,” said Karen Ogen, the chief executive officer of the alliance and a former chief councillor Wet’suwet’en First Nation near Burns Lake. The alliance sees its role as pressing for First Nations economic involvement in the LNG industry.

The alliance chair is Haisla Nation President Crystal Smith and its board includes Kitselas First Nation chief councillor Glenn Bennett and Eva Clayton, the president of the Nisga’a Lisims Government.

Both the Haisla and the Kitselas have economic benefits agreements with the LNG sector and the provincial government.

Other board members represent First Nations who also have benefits agreements tied to the ongoing construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, that will feed the LNG Canada facility under construction in Kitimat.

In joining the First Nations alliance, LNG Canada and FortisBC are leaving another alliance, the Canadian LNG Alliance, which is industry focused. The later will now have just two members; Woodfibre LNG, which has plans for a facility near Squamish, and the energy company and pipeline builder Enbridge.

Teresa Waddington, corporate relations vice president at LNG Canada, called her company’s move to join the alliance as an affiliate a top priority.

“We have always recognized First Nations as essential partners in LNG development, and we’re excited to work with the alliance in leading industry advocacy and policy development.”

Doug Slater, FortisBC vice president of external and Indigenous relations, said his company’s participation recognized the role LNG plays in reconciliation.

The Haisla not only have agreements with LNG Canada but are also an active participant in the proposed small-scale Cedar LNG project, which would take natural gas from the Coastal GasLink pipeline that will supply the LNG Canada plant.

Cedar LNG gas would then be pumped to a barge moored in the Douglas Channel close to Kitimat, where it would be liquefied for export.

A far larger project is envisioned by the Nisga’a, who have signed on with a group of energy companies from Alberta called Rockies LNG and a Texas company called Western LNG to form Ksi Lisims LNG.

This would involve a pipeline from the northeast, running across the province and through Nisga’a lands, before running underwater to a facility off the coast of Gingolx.

FortisBC has an LNG storage facility near Ladysmith on Vancouver Island and the Tilbury LNG facility in Delta.

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About the Author: Rod Link

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