During the last B.C. election campaign, Premier Christy Clark bet the farm on liquefied natural gas.
She claimed that markets for this fuel in Asia could lead to a "debt-free B.C." and a "$100-billion windfall" for the province.
This heated rhetoric was delivered before China signed a 30-year, $400-billion deal to buy natural gas from Russia at prices lower than the threshold for producing and shipping LNG profitably from B.C. to Asia.
According to Deutsche Bank, North American LNG projects can only be viable at prices of US$12 to $13 per million British thermal units.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that spot LNG prices reached a decade-low of US$3.899 per million BTUs in Singapore on April 18.
That was a catastrophe for any politician who seriously thinks LNG would clear away B.C.'s debt anytime soon.
Since that low, however, spot LNG has risen to $5.645 in Singapore.
It's still well below what's needed to make B.C. projects economically viable. But is it a sign of hope on the horizon?
Not really, according to Gautam Sudhakar, the director of global LNG for IHS Markit Ltd.
"This is likely just a short-term uptick in prices," Sudhakar told Bloomberg, noting there is a great deal more supply coming onto the market in 2017.
In fact, he said production of LNG is "growing faster than demand", which will prevent prices from shooting up much higher.
From that, voters can conclude that debt-free B.C. might not be just around the corner.