On February 10, the media's attention was focused on the RCMP arresting Unist'ot'en matriarchs as they were conducting a ceremony for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
The Mounties were enforcing a court injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, which will deliver fracked natural gas across traditional unceded Wet'suwet'en territory to an LNG Canada plant in Kitimat.
Just hours after those arrests, LNG Canada Development filed an application with the B.C. Lobbyists Registry to register nine in-house lobbyists.
According to the registration, which was approved the following day, they'll try to exert influence on seven B.C. NDP government ministries, as well as the provincial Oil and Gas Commission.
The LNG Canada plant and the Coastal GasLink pipeline are part of a $40-billion private-sector infrastructure project—the largest in Canadian history, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Two of the registered lobbyists in B.C.—LNG Canada CEO Peter Zebedee and LNG Canada director of corporate affairs and external relations Susannah Pierce—will be focusing on the provincial government's top power brokers until their registration expires on August 10.
According to the registry, Zebedee and Pierce are aiming to convey the company's views on the LNG fiscal framework and carbon-management issues to Premier John Horgan and the premier's chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, as well as to Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman, Finance Minister Carole James, and Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources Minister Bruce Ralston.
LNG Canada is a joint venture led by Shell, whose parent company, Royal Dutch Shell, pioneered the LNG sector and owns 20 percent of the world's LNG vessels.
Other partners are Mitsubishi and three state-owned energy giants: Malaysia-based Petronas, PetroChina Company Limited, and Korea Gas Corporation.
LNG Canada's lobbying effort comes as Royal Dutch Shell is running into some choppy waters.
On February 20, it issued its Shell LNG Outlook 2020, which included some rosy news, including:
• 2019 was a year of record LNG supply growth;
• 2019 was a year of record final investment decisions, with 71 million tonnes of new capacity being approved;
• and charts illustrating the company's expectation that renewables and natural gas will replace coal in the global energy mix, helping to level off global carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
"Longer-term demand is expected to double to 700 million tonnes by 2040 according to forecasts, spurring confidence in the role of gas in shaping a lower-carbon energy system," the company states.
However, international investors may not be as confident—especially after LNG prices tumbled to all-time lows below US$3 per million British thermal units earlier this month on the Japan-Korea Marker, which is a leading price barometer in Asia.
Since the Shell report was released, the corporation's shares took a tumble, falling to a 52-week low of US$47.14 on the New York Stock Exchange.
As of this writing, they've rebounded to US$47.54, down from the 52-week high of US$67.45.
Future quotes on the Japan-Korea Marker are currently below US$7 per million BTUs all the way through December 2025.
North American LNG plants require prices above US$10 per million BTUs, according to some estimates, to have a chance at being profitable.
Meanwhile, the B.C. government's recent budget forecasts a 26 percent rise in natural-gas production by 2022.
Royalties are project to increase from $153 million in 2019-20 to $223 million by 2022-23.
The province expects sales and leases of Crown land drilling rights, on the other hand, to fall from $228 million by the end of March 2020 to $135 million in 2022-23.
There's no indication in the budget documents that the B.C. government is anticipating a collapse in fossil-fuel revenues along the lines of what's predicted in U.S. economic consultant Jeremy Rifkin's recent book.
In The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028 and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth, Rifkin argues that the world is in the midst of a monumental shift to a post-carbon era, which will wallop fossil-fuel producers and the governments that depend on these revenues.
With regard to Canada and the United States, Rifkin claims that "the commercial case for the continued introduction of large-scale natural gas projects no longer exists because of the ever-cheaper cost of generating solar and wind electricity".