Premier Christy Clark has confirmed the B.C. government has signed a project development agreement with the Petronas-led Pacific NorthWest LNG project.
Clark told a press conference in Vancouver this morning the agreement would set the stage for a potential $36 billion investment in northern B.C.
“That will be a key driver of jobs, as I said for people in every corner of our province and really set the stage for a new era of economic activity and a new industry for B.C.,” she said.
The agreement is still subject to internal approval by Petronas and its partners.
A final investment decision will also need to be reached before the agreement is tabled in the legislature.
“The government of B.C. intends to table the project development agreement in the legislature as soon as possible,” said Clark.
“We will introduce that legislation. That’s what will enable the agreement. It will not come into effect until the legislation is approved by the full legislative assembly.”
She said the details of the agreement would be available for public scrutiny when it reaches the legislature.
Pacific NorthWest LNG is a proposed LNG processing and export terminal on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert. The facility would process LNG from the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline.
The project still needs approval from the First Nations including the Lax Kw’alaams Band, which recently rejected a $1-billion benefits deal.
“It’s been my view all along that we can get agreements with First Nations and that’s our intention with the Lax [Kwa’laams] as it has been with other First Nations along the way,” she said.
“I will ask you to look back and think about all of the other negotiations with 28 other First Nations that some predicted wouldn’t succeed, they did succeed, and I think that we are likely to see this one succeed as well.”
The province is still consulting with Metlakatla, Gitxaala, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas and Gitga’at
First Nations regarding support for the project.
The agreement is also still subject to federal environmental approval.
Federal Minister of Industry James Moore said the LNG industry presented a big opportunity for the province.
“Of course the environmental assessment process is still ongoing but we want to get to a yes,” he said.
“We want these projects to be stood up, to move forward, to create Canadian jobs.”
Michael Culbert is the president of Petronas-owned Progress Energy Canada and director on the board of Pacific NorthWest LNG.
He said the decision was “extremely good news” which was indicative of the B.C. government’s focus on establishing LNG in the province.
“While we know there’s much heavy lifting still to be done, including the conclusion of the rigorous environmental assessment being done by the government of Canada, this is a good day for stability and clarity and predictability,” said Culbert.