A natural gas supply deal signed Wednesday between Russia and China includes some mind-bogglingly large numbers -- but not big enough to get British Columbia Premier Christy Clark worried about her province's future as a global energy exporter.
The value of the contract -- signed amid growing isolation of Russia by traditional customers in the West -- is pegged at $400 billion and covers a 30-year period. The Russian gas, expected to flow to China by pipeline as early as 2018, would represent about a quarter of China's current annual gas consumption.
"I've never said that B.C. would be the only supplier of natural gas to any country, but what I have said is that every country, every receiver of natural gas is going to want to have one reliable partner in their portfolio,'' Clark said at a conference in Vancouver.
"We've certainly seen the way that Russia likes to do business these days, and we certainly know that the Chinese want a dependability of supply. We can supply that.''
So far, seven export licences have been granted to proposed West Coast LNG projects, said federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.
"Canada's vast energy supplies represent an opportunity for countries looking to diversify their energy imports, especially in the Asia-Pacific,'' he said in an emailed statement.
The International Energy Agency predicts a quadrupling in Chinese gas demand by 2035, he noted.
Ed Kallio, director of gas consulting at Ziff Energy, said the Russian exports to China will be "just a drop in the bucket'' when its future gas consumption is taken into account.