Kelowna Chamber of Commerce get natural gas education from industry leaders

Two industry experts were in Kelowna Thursday as part of an education series aimed at highlighting benefits associated with natural gas.

Gary Weilinger

Two industry experts were in Kelowna Thursday as part of an education series aimed at highlighting benefits associated with natural gas.

Gary Weilinger, vice president of strategic development and external affairs for Spectra Energy, and Douglas Stout, vice president of energy solutions and external relations for FortisBC, spoke at Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Thursday luncheon.

“There is a fundamental opportunity to create a much bigger awareness and understanding in terms of opportunities we’re going to be seeing in the province in the next decade and beyond,” said Weilinger.

“Our message is to improve and increase that level of awareness.”

Most of the presentation focused on the economic benefits of natural gas. According to Weilinger, natural gas produces over $29 billion in exports and $1.5 trillion in annual economic activity across the country.

“B.C. stands to benefit significantly from this…in British Columbia we now have well over 100 years of supply.”

Both Weilinger and Stout focused their speeches on opportunities associated with liquified natural gas.

“LNG is a way to get B.C. natural gas to a very anxiously awaiting Asian market. It’s really game-changing in terms of the opportunity to create jobs in B.C.”

One chamber member asked how much of the current production of natural gas is being attained through hydraulic fracturing: A practice condemned by some due to environmental effects on water, carbon emissions and disruption to wildlife.

Weilinger admitted hydraulic fracturing—or unconventional gas production—is a quickly growing trend.

“There is a significant trend away from conventional gas production over to unconventional because it’s ubiquitous.”

Weilinger and Stout will be in Fort St. John later in the month to deliver a similar message.

“We have a resource here to develop—we need to do that if we’re going to have a viable economy in the long run,” said Stout.

“That is the real reason behind our initiative here: To help stimulate that discussion.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com