According to a BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources publication, in 2006, 15.3 percent of natural gas in BC was lost by flaring, shrinkage, fuel processing, and plant waste. The oil and gas industry refers to these as "fugitive emissions."
With the new pipelines proposed to service LNG plants, 10-14 percent of the natural gas transported in a pipeline would be used to generate the electricity required to convert natural gas to LNG.
As it warms, the cargo in a marine LNG vessel re-gassifies at a rate of about 0.1-0.25 percent of the volume per day. Depending on the age and class of the vessel, some of this natural gas is captured to fuel the vessel's engines; some is reliquefied and returned to cargo. The average Pacific Ocean transit and unload time requires 20 days. Typical cargo losses are 2-6 percent of loaded volume.
So, something on the order of 30 percent of the natural gas captured at a wellhead in BC would be either vented into the atmosphere, or burned before the LNG product arrived at is destination - where it would all be burned.
When "fugitive emissions" from using natural gas exceed 2.8% of volume, using natural gas is dirtier for the atmosphere than using coal.
If BC's LNG Strategy is fulfilled by 2020 (an additional 1.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas extracted per year for export), how much of this export natural gas will be lost to the atmosphere, chiefly as methane, before the product reaches its market?
570 billion cubic feet each year
Methane is 34 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide. When used to create electricity in a best case scenario, natural gas delivers 60 percent efficiency as a fuel. BC's proposed LNG industry, if developed at the scale that government would like, may play into creating a global climate tipping point. This is not climate leadership. This is climatic irresponsibility.