News in Brief: Feb. 8, 2017

North Coast population declining, Petronas loses foreign backer

  • Feb. 8, 2017 5:00 a.m.

North Coast population declining

Both the City of Prince Rupert and District of Port Edward showed declines in population for the period between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 according to a BC Stats report.

Prince Rupert was ranked as a bottom 10 B.C. municipality (with a population of 5,000-plus) for population growth, as the city lost 182 people in the year-long time period in the 2016 Sub-Provincial Population Estimates report released late January. That’s a decline of 1.59 per cent, with 2016’s 11,261 people a drop from 2015’s recorded 11,443.

Port Edward saw the largest relative decline in population, losing 29 residents, or 5.8 per cent of its population, going from 503 people to 474 people.

The overall B.C. population grew by 1.2 per cent – an increase of almost 59,000 people.

These estimates reinforce the Prince Rupert School District’s low enrolment numbers – 1,986 students at its most recent count – its lowest in recent recorded history, but counter the City of Prince Rupert’s Go Plan Population Survey, conducted in June 2015, that showed an estimated Prince Rupert population of 13,766 at the time.

Petronas loses foreign backer

Petronas, the majority shareholder in the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project, is facing financial challenges for another one of its major projects in Southern Malaysia.

The $27.4-billion Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project for processing oil and gas planned to begin operations in 2019 but media reports stated the foreign investor in the project, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., pulled the plug on the joint venture.

Reports stated the company made the decision after it conducted a feasibility study and determined the project wouldn’t bring in sufficient returns. Petronas will have to search for a new foreign investor for the RAPID project that is expected to refine 300,000 barrels of oil a day.

Petronas and the shareholders of PNW-LNG are currently determining whether or not to proceed with its liquefied natural gas project of the North Coast of B.C. A final investment decision is expected sometime this year.