Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman sees a potential start of construction on B.C.'s first big LNG plant by the end of this year.

Petronas tentatively commits to Pacific Northwest LNG plant

$11-billion project still seeks environmental, provincial approvals, aboriginal consent

The Pacific Northwest LNG plant proposed near Prince Rupert now has preliminary investment approval from its proponents, prompting confidence from Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman that the massive project could be under construction by the end of this year.

The consortium led by Malaysian firm Petronas confirmed it’s ready to proceed and the only conditions for a final investment decision are federal environmental review approval and B.C. government approval of the project development agreement.

The Legislature is expected to be recalled this summer to pass the deal providing tax and royalty certainty clearing the way for an expected $11-billion investment.

“It would only be derailed, I suppose, if there was something in the environmental  assessment that makes the project impossible,” Coleman told reporters Friday.

He said a construction start is possible late this year that would see the first LNG shipments moving by the end of 2019.

The outlook for LNG prices has darkened recently but Coleman said Petronas and its Asian partners have long-term contracts to sell the first 12 million tonnes of LNG.

“This product is basically sold. They have the commercial viability on this one.”

Another problem for the project is aboriginal acceptance.

The Lax Kw’alaams First Nation recently voted down a $1-billion cash offer from Petronas.

More project design work and research is underway to address aboriginal concerns about the potential impact on salmon habitat at Flora Bank near the project site, Coleman said.

“I think I see a sight line where we can satisfy the community,” he said. “I think as we come through that you’ll see that the Lax Kw’alaams will come together with every other first nation that’s already endorsed the project in the area.”

He described the opportunity as one of “generational change” for small first nations.

The federal environmental review has been paused while more information on potential habitat risks was sought.  A final decision is considered possible by fall.

LNG tankers like this one could be loading near Prince Rupert by the end of 2019 if Pacific Northwest LNG begins construction by the end of this year.  File photo.

 

 

Just Posted

Granisle grizzlies moved

Video of the release of grizzlies getting a bit too comfortable in Granisle.

Telkwa student UNBC valedictorian

Arctica Cunningham gives her valedictorian speech May 25 at University of Northern British Columbia.

Local nurses celebrated during National Nurses Week

One nurse inspiring others to have pride in their jobs by wearing her nurse’s cap again

Second national bowling title for Madison Richter

Madison Richter, 14, is getting used to going out of town and coming home as a national champion.

International students land in Smithers

There are 20 people who came from the other side of the world to study in Smithers.

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title

Most Read