Yesterday’s announcement that Petronas and its partners will not proceed with its Pacific NorthWest LNG project on Lelu Island reflects both changing market conditions and the project’s inability to gain the support of local and broader communities, MP Nathan Cullen said today.
“The Northwest will always welcome well designed and locally supported projects that respect First Nations rights and title, provide local jobs, and are economically and environmentally stable,” Cullen said. “Large resource projects can and do happen here. Unfortunately, from the very beginning, Petronas just wasn’t able to offer these elements and gain the social license the project needed to proceed and succeed.”
Cullen, a former national Natural Resources and Energy critic for the NDP, said risks posed by the proposed Petronas terminal to salmon habitat and eelgrass beds at Flora Banks may have been the single greatest factor driving opposition to the project.
“I think the depth of sustained opposition, largely driven by project location, meant the writing was really on the wall for Petronas,” he said.
Cullen also noted the setback to Petronas of last week’s federal Court of Appeal ruling that ordered the National Energy Board to reconsider whether the proposed TransCanada natural gas pipeline, critical to the development of Pacific NorthWest’s LNG terminal, falls within provincial or federal jurisdiction.
In a release from Kuala Lumpur today, Petronas said the decision to cancel its Pacific NorthWest LNG project was made “after a careful and total review of the project amid … prolonged depressed prices and shifts in the energy industry.”
Last September, the federal government gave environmental approval to Petronas, contingent upon 190 legally binding conditions. Former BC Premier Christy Clark had long championed the project opposed by many environmental groups and some First Nations due to concerns about increased greenhouse gas emissions and impact on wild salmon.