After exploring various options (see Section 7, below), we conclude that a world-leading British Columbia LNG facility would need to be powered with a combination of grid electricity, new renewables, and combined-cycle natural gas generators. When supplied with lower-carbon gas that is processed with best-in-class equipment, this approach brings the proposed facilities within reach of global leadership.
To ensure British Columbia produces the cleanest LNG in the world, the industry will need to source the cleanest natural gas available, process it with best available technologies, and then compress it with low-emission technologies. (Infographic: “Recipe for the Cleanest LNG in the World”)
UPSTREAM: SOURCE B.C.’s CLEANEST GAS, AND PROCESS IT WELL
1. Use Montney Gas or Carbon Capture and Storage: Government could require LNG proponents to exclusively source their natural gas from the province’s Montney Formation gas field, or mandate carbon capture and storage on any gas sourced from the Horn River basin, which has innately higher greenhouse gas emissions. These strategies could reduce emissions by the equivalent of 0.23 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of LNG produced.
2. Electrify Natural Gas Processing and Plug the Leaks: To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, project developers could use a combination of strategies and tools such as electrification—using electricity instead of natural gas to process natural gas—and low-bleed valves and plunger lifts, which reduce leaks and venting. When combined with emerging technologies these choices could reduce equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by 0.27 tonnes per tonne of LNG produced.
DOWNSTREAM: AT THE LNG PLANT
3. Use Electric Drive Compressors: To achieve best-in-class LNG, B.C. LNG plants must use electric drive compressors that in turn run on a combination of new renewable power, existing British Columbia grid electricity, and efficient combined-cycle natural gas generators. If the industry adopts this blend of compression technologies and power sources, it will reduce emissions by the equivalent of 0.11 tonnes of carbon dioxide per tonne of LNG produced.
Taken together, the above actions will collectively reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a standard off-the-shelf B.C. plant by 0.61 tonnes of equivalent emissions per tonne of LNG produced. This would result in a world-leading industry offering a product competitive to that offered in Norway and Australia.
To place the scale of the opportunity into perspective, for every standard, off-the shelf LNG project that proceeds, achieving this scale of emission reductions would be equivalent to avoiding the annual carbon pollution of two cities the size of Vancouver.
By requiring industry to adopt the above measures, the Government of British Columbia could head off the release of significant quantities of climate pollution and credibly claim that the proposed industry will produce the cleanest LNG in the world with respect to greenhouse gas emissions.