Devon Siebenga

B.C. government pitches LNG spinoffs

Suppliers urged to register with new website to make it easier for natural gas investment groups to find them

The B.C. government has launched a website it says will help spread the benefits of liquefied natural gas development to businesses around the province.

Jobs Minister Shirley Bond unveiled the website Tuesday, with 300 B.C. businesses signed up with details of their goods and services. Representatives of two of those businesses visited the B.C. legislature to endorse the effort.

Janice Shaben is a partner with her husband Gord in Terrace-based Silvertip Promotions and Signs. She said LNG companies are already active in the northwest and her company has landed some business deals by direct meetings.

She is also president of the Terrace Chamber of Commerce, with more than 300 member businesses.

“I’m going to encourage all my businesses in town to make sure they get connected, because by registering your company on the website, it allows you to showcase what you’re capable of doing, what services you’re able to provide,” Shaben said.

Devon Siebenga, president of Kelowna-based BigSteelBox Structures, brought one of his company’s portable worker accommodation units with him. Converted from a steel shipping container, the unit contains two of what Siebenga termed “executive suites” with granite countertops and in-suite washrooms.

“We’re setting out to change the way people look at workforce accommodations and modular structures,” Siebenga said.

Bond said the liquefied natural gas industry could create 100,000 jobs in the province. Companies that register at the website enter details of their goods and services and the system matches them up with needs listed by energy and construction companies.

The government hired former NDP cabinet minister Gordon Wilson to tour the province promoting B.C. business participation in LNG projects. Wilson stressed that aboriginal communities and companies will be at the front of the line.

“Companies when they come in … will let you know First Nations business trumps all other because they want to make sure First Nations are properly engaged in this process,” Wilson told the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce Oct. 15. “I think that is only proper and correct.”