Province signs project development agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG

The provincial government and Pacific NorthWest LNG signed a project development agreement today.

The provincial government and Pacific NorthWest LNG signed a project development agreement today that both parties say moves the project closer to becoming a reality.

“For Pacific NorthWest LNG and Progress Energy, the issue of the highest importance was stability and predictability in relation to an investment decision on a $36-billion project … this is a good day for stability and predictability,” said Pacific NorthWest LNG president Michael Culbert.

“This is extremely good news and is indicative of the B.C. government’s commitment to develop an LNG industry.”

The agreement, which includes a long-term royalty agreement that covers 2016 through to 2038, is anything but final as it will need approval from both.

“The agreement is subject to internal approval from Pacific NorthWest LNG and Petronas and it will then be introduced into the Legislature,” said Premier Christy Clark.

“It will not come into effect until approved by the Legislative Assembly and all of its members. Once the agreement is tabled and debated, it will be available for public viewing and scrutiny and I am sure that there will be no stone left unturned.”

Once approved the agreement will not come into effect until Pacific NorthWest LNG reaches a final investment decision, something Culbert said may also come in different stages.

“We are looking to make a, hopefully positive, commercial final investment decision in the next few months. That would then be followed by a final investment decision once all of the regulatory approvals are in place, which we anticipate will be in the coming months,” he said.

The Lelu Island terminal hit a wall of opposition from members of the Lax Kw’alaams band earlier this month, but Clark said she is confident it is a hurdle that can be overcome.

“It has been my view all along that we can get agreements in place with First Nations and that is what we have done with 28 First Nations … we are likely to see this succeed as well,” she said, noting a statement from the band acknowledged possible project benefits and did not entirely close the door on energy projects.

“There is clearly a basis to proceed and I think that with that goodwill around the table that will be done.”

However, the Friends of Wild Salmon question the validity of the Premier’s statement, saying the project poses too much of a threat to the stocks of the Skeena River.

“Communities of the Skeena watershed are not willing to risk losing their salmon for Petronas’ short-sighted LNG project. Salmon have been the roots of our culture for generations and we will ensure that they remain so for generations to come,” said Gerald Amos, Friends of Wild Salmon chair.

“The selection of this site was not done in consultation with First Nations and Skeena communities. Given the strong value that salmon hold in this watershed, this was an extreme oversight on the part of the Port of Prince Rupert, Petronas, and the Province of B.C.,” added Des Nobels of Prince Rupert.

B.C. government officials estimate $8-billion in LNG royalty revenue from the project over the 23 year royatly agreement.