B.C. LNG is one step closer
WHEN THE FEDERAL LIBERAL
government announced in September it was approving the first major liquefied natural gas export plant for the B.C. coast, the announcement was sudden and seemingly involuntary. It likely was. That evening, three federal ministers hastily boarded flights to Vancouver for a rare after-hours press conference with the B.C. Premier near the airport. Pacific NorthWest LNG would be the first energy project approved on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s watch and the first sizeable piece of good news for B.C.’s LNG ambitions in a very long time. Still, doubts remained. Within hours of the announcement, there were reports that Petronas, the lead actor on the $11.4-billion project, was already looking for an exit due to the project’s lengthy approval process. More bad news followed for the industry with indigenous and environmental groups filing court challenges against Ottawa’s approval on the grounds that the project did not involve meaningful consultation with First Nations and would breach the government’s climate commitments. Just over a month later, the company behind the smaller WoodFibre LNG export project north of Vancouver took a positive investment decision on the $1.6-billion export terminal, to decidedly less fanfare. The 2.1-millionton processing facility has the support of the local Squamish First Nation, but two nearby nations have voiced concerns about a gas pipeline that will supply the plant. If those differences are overcome, WoodFibre LNG will be the first LNG export project on Canada’s west coast.