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Evaluating British Columbia’s economic policies for liquefied natural gas development

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British Columbia is attempting to develop a large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector to export natural gas to Asia, with capital investments estimated to be as high as $40 billion for a single LNG plant. An alleged benefit of LNG development is increased revenue for the BC provincial government of over $27 billion. Our research investigates potential fiscal benefits for BC from LNG and the processes that were followed when developing the new LNG-related economic policies. Research methods include an analysis of relevant documents, interviews with key actors, and quantitative modeling of LNG revenue impacts. Results show that the primary objective of the fiscal mechanisms is to ensure that the LNG industry is developed in BC and maximizing the return to government is a secondary objective. Secondly, the process of developing the LNG policies did not follow best practices from a public policy perspective. Thirdly, the government’s projected incremental revenue from an LNG export industry is significantly exaggerated.
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