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Gas credits no subsidy, premier says

Premier Christy Clark speaks to international LNG conference in Vancouver Monday. - Tom Fletcher/Black Press
Premier Christy Clark speaks to international LNG conference in Vancouver Monday.
— image credit: Tom Fletcher/Black Press

VANCOUVER – B.C.'s natural gas exploration royalty credit program is worth up to $120 million this year, but it's not a subsidy to industry, Premier Christy Clark says.

Clark announced the total at an international conference on liquefied natural gas exports Monday, boasting that costs are higher for other producers.

"Australia's the main competition, and it looks like we're leaving them in the dust more and more every day," Clark told delegates at the Vancouver convention centre.

B.C.'s royalty credit program is going into its 12th year. It provides breaks on natural gas royalty payments to companies that commit to building new roads and pipelines for gas production in remote areas.

Clark said the program recovers its initial cost at a rate of $2.50 for every dollar given out, because it stimulates gas production that otherwise wouldn't take place. The program was credited with luring drilling rigs away from Alberta to B.C.'s remote northeast shale gas deposits in previous years.

Clark also announced a $32 million provincial loan to 15 aboriginal communities on the route of a new natural gas pipeline from northeast gas developments to to LNG export facilities on B.C.'s North Coast.

The Pacific Trails pipeline is to run 463 km from Summit Lake to Prince George to Kitimat. At the conference, the province and Chevron Canada signed a benefit sharing agreement that they said will provide up to $200 million to aboriginal groups on the route over the life of the project.

First Nations that signed the agreement are the Haisla, Kitselas, Lax Kw'alaams, Lheidli T'enneh, McLeod Lake, Metlakatla, Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Nee Tahi Buhn, Saik'uz, Skin Tyee, Stellat'en, Ts'il Kaz Koh, West Moberly and Wet'suwet'en.

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