The Role of Natural Resources in British Columbia's Economy

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The Role of Natural Resources in British Columbia's Economy

This essay quantifies the important role natural resources play in British Columbia’s economy. It looks at their impact on both Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment. In addition, it examines the connection between natural resources and other industries via the purchase of inputs, and also the effects of primary industry wages with regard to spending on goods and services.

By any measure, natural resources make a significant contri­bution to British Columbia’s economy. The $31.6 billion of GDP from natural resources compares with $25.4 billion from all con­struction; $19.8 billion from professional, scientific, and technical services; $16.1 billion from transportation (outside of pipelines); and it dwarfs the $9.6 billion in accommodation and food, $9.3 billion in information and culture, and $2.9 billion from arts, entertainment, and recreation.

Crucially, the role of natural resources in BC’s economy will increase signifi­cantly as soon as work nears completion on two major resource projects. The first is the imminent start-up of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which will double the capacity of oil exports passing through the port of Vancouver. The second is the long-delayed completion of the massive LNG Canada investment in exporting liquified natural gas (LNG). This involves liquifying natural gas sourced from Northeastern British Columbia at an export terminal in Kitimat for shipment to export markets abroad. On top of the increase in export volumes of both oil and gas, these projects will help Canada secure higher prices than are paid by current customers in the US Midwest.

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