Quebec Government Cancels $14 Billion LNG Project

The Quebec government has cancelled a proposed liquified natural gas (LNG) facility in the Saguenay, north of Quebec City, following years of opposition from citizens, Indigenous groups and environmental experts.

The decision effectively kills a $14-billion project that would have carried natural gas from Western Canada across Quebec to the Saguenay port, then shipped it to markets overseas.

Quebec Premier François Legault's government had initially been a proponent of the project, which it hoped would diversify the economy in a region largely dependent on the aluminum and forestry industries.

But the government set out three criteria for approving the natural gas facility: it had to help with the transition toward greener forms of energy, lower greenhouse gas emissions and have sufficient public support.

The government said the "Énergie Saguenay" project didn’t end up meeting the first two criteria and it has therefore been cancelled.

The $14-billion project had included a plan to build a 780-kilometre natural gas pipeline from northern Ontario to the Saguenay region, and a separate project to build a plant to liquify the gas in Saguenay and load it onto shipping tankers.

The natural gas would have come from Western Canada, mainly from hydraulic fracturing operations in British Columbia and Alberta.

In June, federal environmental agencies determined that the project, which would involve large tankers travelling along the Saguenay River, would have threatened beluga whales. And last week, three Innu communities vowed to oppose the project because of the negative impact it would have on the environment.