23 May 2022, 13:19
Sören Amelang

Europe’s move away from Russian gas revives controversial LNG projects in Canada

Tagesspiegel Background

The EU’s and, in particular, Germany’s urgent drive to replace Russian gas imports has revived controversial liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in Canada, to the dismay of environmentalists, reports Christian Schaudwet in energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. At least four project developers hope that the sharp increase in LNG demand from Europe triggered by the Ukraine war will be decisive for approving and financing their planned export terminals and liquefaction plants on Canada’s east coast. During a visit to Germany in mid-May, Canadian industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said LNG from his country could contribute to Europe’s energy security, and he wants to discuss details during a return visit by German economy and climate minister Robert Habeck in the summer, according to the article.

Environmentalists in Germany and Canada are highly critical of building large new LNG infrastructure in Canada that will “create new dependencies for decades”, and could cause climate-damaging methane emissions. Last week, NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH) and other German and Canadian LNG opponents called on their governments to stop approvals of LNG projects, and to focus on energy efficiency and renewables instead.

According to the article, GNL Quebec plans to invest 14 billion dollars in a terminal in Sanguenay, while Pieridae Energy wants to set up its Goldboro project in Nova Scotia – both projects appeared dead before the Ukraine war. In addition, Spanish Repsol considers converting an import terminal in New Brunswick into a liquefaction plant, while a consortium plans another liquefaction plant in Newfoundland.  

Germany is rapidly pushing several infrastructure projects for the import of LNG in order to reduce its dependence on Russian natural gas. Germany has a well-developed natural gas pipeline grid and is connected to terminals in neighbouring countries, but does not currently have its own port to receive LNG directly. The government recently drafted an “LNG Acceleration Act” to speed up planning and construction of necessary infrastructure for direct imports.

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