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Petronas said to eye new site in US$27b Canada LNG plan

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Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional is seeking to move ahead with a proposed US$27 billion liquefied natural gas project in western Canada after identifying a new site for shipping the fuel, a shift that may help reduce costs and quell local opposition.

[CANADA] Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional is seeking to move ahead with a proposed US$27 billion liquefied natural gas project in western Canada after identifying a new site for shipping the fuel, a shift that may help reduce costs and quell local opposition.

Petronas's Pacific NorthWest LNG project would continue as planned with the liquefaction plant on Lelu Island in British Columbia. The company would move the docking facilities to neighboring Ridley Island, where ships would berth to take deliveries of the fuel for export, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.

Such a re-design would eliminate the need for a costly suspension bridge that was part of the original plan and also circumvent an environmentally sensitive marine area that's been a flash point of controversy.

Petronas and its partners - China Petrochemical Corp, Japan Petroleum Exploration Co, Indian Oil Corp and Brunei National Petroleum Co - are expected to decide whether or not to proceed with the project in early 2017. The facility would produce as much as 19.2 million metric tons a year of LNG and open up a new trade route for Canadian gas to be shipped to Asia."Pacific NorthWest LNG is conducting a total project review over the coming months," spokesman Spencer Sproule said in an email. "During this time, the project is continuing to work with area First Nations, stakeholders and regulators to manage any potential impacts through mitigation measures and design optimization." It's unclear how changing the design might impact the construction timeline - the Kuala Lumpur-based company is in talks with the government and stakeholders to see if the modification could be carried out without sparking fresh regulatory delays, according to the people. Construction of the facility and shipping terminal, which is estimated to cost US$11 billion, is the final step in the US$27 billion project that also included Petronas's 2012 acquisition of Progress Energy Canada Ltd.

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Canada's Environmental Assessment Agency hasn't received any information yet about potential changes, the agency said in an email. "If we receive any new information from Petronas, we will review it and determine the appropriate next steps, including any potential environmental assessment requirements," it said.

The project won Canadian government approval in September following more than three years of regulatory review. In that time, the global LNG market tanked with spot prices for the fuel falling by more than two-thirds amid a supply glut.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won power in 2015 with pledges to balance heightened environmental standards and economic growth for the oil and gas exporting country. Trudeau has introduced a carbon price and a ban on crude oil tankers along the northwest coast where the Petronas gas facility is proposed. He also approved two new crude pipelines last month.

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