Picture the scene. A packed conference room in the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver. A buzz of expectation from the assembled media, crammed into every inch of space. Our teaser video content finishes, the cue for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to lead the VIPs to their seats to much applause.
Then Andy Calitz - CEO of LNG Canada - takes to the stage to announce that the project to create a liquefied natural gas facility and pipeline taking Canadian gas to Asian markets is going to proceed. The largest single private sector investment in Canadian history was a reality.
As I called the shots for our cameraman - capturing every moment of the live webcast streaming to simultaneous events in Kitimat, Calgary and Yokohama - I took a moment to take in the gravity of what was happening.
It was one of those magical moments when in years to come, I’ll be able to say, “I was there”...
So where did this journey start?
Five years ago, I sat with prospective clients from Shell in a coffee shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had worked with Shell in my former life in the UK, so we had a point of connection. They needed an aerial shoot to capture some of the activity taking place 300 miles offshore as Shell surveyed the Shelburne Basin, the site for a future exploratory oil well.
Two weeks later, two of the Journeyman team had survived the rigours of helicopter safety training and were flying out over the North Atlantic.
The shoot went well and led to a referral from Shell to colleagues on the West coast. They needed a video update on a development project (a series of interviews in Vancouver and Kitimat) to create a summary for Shell executives.
Little did we know this referral would be the start of something huge...
The value of story in video content
A few months later, we were in a boardroom at Shell Centre, in Calgary. After a successful first shoot, we were invited to present video content ideas to their team. We did our research. With time spent on the ground in Kitimat, we listened to the views of community members about life in an industrial town, their hopes and their fears.
We prepared a comprehensive video content strategy, full of story ideas and thoughts about how we could use video content to help give an honest and authentic voice to LNG Canada’s communications.
In May 2014, the joint venture agreement was signed, LNG Canada was official, and Journeyman received the biggest PO we had ever had!
From Vendor to Advisor
We quickly became part of the inner sanctum - an extension of LNG Canada’s Communications team. The video content projects we undertook grew in scope and complexity. We learned about Goal Zero and the 12 Life-saving Rules, stepping up our safety practices to meet the required expectations.
We experienced the ebbs and flows of a major infrastructure project, directly influenced by fluctuations in the global energy markets. Two years became three. A decision to delay the final investment decision in 2016, stretched that to five.
With each piece of video content we produced, we gained greater insight about the need to balance the varying perspectives of the different groups with an interest in this project. Community members, First Nations along the pipeline and shipping route, Government stakeholders, the joint venture partners. The story needed to resonate with these different audiences and ensure that LNG Canada became the “proponent of choice” with the social licence to proceed.
Every time we visited Kitimat, the sense of anticipation was greater that something incredible might be about to happen.
Then on Oct 2nd, 2018, it did... The Final Investment Decision (FID) was announced.
A unique experience in my career
The personal journey I have enjoyed working with LNG Canada has been fascinating. I’ve travelled to shoot in Vancouver and Calgary countless times, in all seasons. I’ve built close relationships with community members in Kitimat and from the Haisla Nation. I even visited a working LNG plant in Oman.
Through our video content, we helped create awareness and understanding. We enabled people to connect to the meticulous work being done to plan this mega-project, and gave space to share the opinions about what mattered to the communities involved. It has been very gratifying to hear that our films played a part in building excitement and support.
But more than that, it has deepened my understanding of the global energy story and the vital role of Canada’s natural gas resources in our need for energy transition to renewables. I have an appreciation for the history of First Nations and the importance of economic reconciliation. And on my travels back and forth, it has increased my love for this country, I now call home.
In short, working with LNG Canada has made me feel more Canadian!
With the positive FID, our role as the project’s video content partner shifts. Next week, we sit down with the team to map out our video content strategy for engaging an expanded audience from around the world, their attention now drawn to a small corner of northern BC.
And it all began with a serendipitous cup of coffee with a former client five years ago.
I wonder what the next five years will bring?
Nic Fieldsend, Director of Client Strategy and Development