- David Boudeweel-Lefebvre
Québec says no to LNG project in Saguenay
Énergie Saguenay Project (LNG Québec)
The Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, accompanied by the Minister responsible for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, Andrée Laforest, held a press conference today to announce that the Énergie Saguenay (GNL Québec) natural gas liquefaction plant project will not be built.
This "no" is a definitive answer and no modification to the current project will be able to change the decision. If the proponent wants to come back with a new project, it will have to go through the entire approval process as if it were a completely new project.
The Council of Ministers met in a special session today to make this decision unanimously. The decision is based on the following three elements:
The government had made it a condition that the project would promote the energy transition. The proponent could not demonstrate that the purchasing countries would stop using liquefied natural gas and switch to new "cleaner" energies. The government fears a "carbon lock-in".
The government's second condition was that the project should contribute to reducing global greenhouse gases. The promoter offered no guarantees as to which countries would be buyers and could not demonstrate that these countries would not replace liquefied natural gas with more polluting energy.
The third condition was that the project would help reduce greenhouse gases in the province. The proponent did not convince the government, which considered the project too risky.
Minister Charette also mentioned that the question of social acceptability was not studied since the conditions of the energy transition and the guarantee of global emissions reduction were not met. The Minister also confirmed that the project in its current form has been refused and that if the proponent wishes to present a new version of the project, it would have to restart the steps on environmental studies and consultation with Aboriginal peoples.
Minister Charette mentioned that this decision will certainly lead to discussions with the province of Alberta, but that the government has made its decision and is fully responsible for it.
With respect to the Gazoduq pipeline project, Minister Charrette concluded that this project is now dead in the water, given the refusal of the liquefaction plant project.
The Québec government says it is always open to major projects, those of quality that promote the creation of wealth while respecting the province's environmental laws.