Letter: Thank you, Mr. Putin

Critics have said for years that in order to make the LNG dream economic, competition from other potential supply sources was needed.

It is not often lately, unless one lives within easy access to Russian mass media, when Mr. Putin receives praise of any kind. After the annexation of Crimea and the tricky east Ukrainian politics, he must be one of the most reviled men on the planet. Well, May 21, 2014 is bound to mark the beginning of his redemption, in British Columbia at least.

As one knows, any government, but particularly its Liberal version under the command of the indomitable Ms. Clark needs its carrots and sticks to govern for duration. The sticks are for the teachers. The carrots are for everybody else since we are on the threshold of the great economic boom – Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is our saviour in which we trust.

In fact, LNG was a serious campaign tool which Ms. Clark wielded when finishing the hapless Mr. Dix in last year’s elections. Mr. Dix’s sour manner and lack of upbeat economic proposals were handily outdone by the future riches about to descend on us all thanks to LNG.

Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of new jobs were to be created, governmental debt to be repaid and health care system to finally leap out of the shadow of shameful wait times. Damned be the doubters and naysayers.

In fact what could go wrong: we had the gas, we had the coast and we had the entrepreneurial spirit? All of it is true, of course, except for one small and insignificant issue of price. After all, the critics have been saying for years that in order to make the LNG dream economic one needed the level of pricing that is competitive with other potential sources of supply. Unless such materialized, our outsized LNG dream would have to either significantly deflate or thrive on the largess of the BC taxpayer. Considering the unyielding and expensive promotion of the LNG scheme by Ms. Clark’s government, the latter was looming as a very probable outcome.

All looked glum for our pockets until this Tuesday when Gazprom (the natural gas arm of the Russian government) announced their 30-year deal to supply China with zillions of flammable molecules.

Ironically promulgated right in the middle of the BC LNG conference in Vancouver, the Russia-China deal not only created awareness of the dramatically shrinking market for our molecules but more importantly bludgeoned our leaders with the inconvenient truth about the pricing our competitors would be willing to live with.

And here is the kicker – it is at least 40 per cent lower than that included in the current B.C. LNG projections. What a tragedy! Ms. Clark and Mr. Coleman of course appeared nonplussed by such rude awakening given their concluding remarks at the B.C. LNG conference. Let’s just hope that these would remain exactly that – remarks, and Thank you, Mr. Putin!

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