Petronas CEO Tan Sri Dato_ Sahmsul Azhar Abbas and Premier Christy Clark in Malaysia - BC government photoAccording to Chris Hatch in the National Observer the aborted PETRONAS project which would have brought fracked natural gas by pipeline from B.C.’s interior, compressed it into a liquid for export by tankers from Lelu island near Prince Rupert, would have become one of the largest sources of climate pollution in Canada. Specifically, he cites Environment and Climate Change Canada’s assessment describing the Petronas project as becoming “amongst the largest single point sources of greenhouse gas emission in the country.” He also cites the Pembina Institute figures to claim that this project alone would have accounted for “75% to 87% of the emissions allowed under B.C.’s 2050 target.” British Columbians may, indeed, have just dodged a deadly environmental bullet.

Here is a timeline of the BC Liberals  LNG affair with Malaysian Crown Corporation PETRONAS  (via their subsidiary Pacific NorthWest LNG) as reported in the Vancouver Sun –

  • Feb. 19, 2013: Pacific NorthWest LNG submits its project description to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
  • April 29, 2013: Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. Ltd. buys a 10 per cent stake in Pacific NorthWest LNG and agrees to buy 10 per cent of the liquefied natural gas produced over at least 20 years, becoming the first secure buyer.
  • Dec. 16, 2013: The National Energy Board grants Pacific NorthWest LNG a licence to export up to 22.2 million tonnes of LNG annually for 25 years. It had applied in July for a licence to export up to 19.68 million tonnes, beginning in 2019.
  • Feb. 28, 2014: Pacific NorthWest LNG submits its environmental impact statement to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
  • March 26, 2014: The federal government approves Pacific NorthWest LNG’s export licence.
  • June 11, 2015: In what it calls its final investment decision, Pacific NorthWest LNG announces it will proceed with the project as long as it satisfies two conditions: approval of a project development agreement by the B.C. legislature and clearing the federal environmental assessment review process.
  • July 21, 2015: The B.C. government passes legislation to ratify a project development agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG.
  • March 21, 2016: The federal government grants the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency more time to review the project.
  • Sept, 27, 2016: The federal government approves the project with 190 conditions, including for the first time a maximum cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Oct. 27, 2016: Two First Nations and an environmental group file separate applications for judicial review in Federal Court to quash approval of the project. A fourth challenge is launched in January 2017.
  • July 25, 2017: Pacific NorthWest LNG says it will not proceed with the project, citing poor market conditions including a prolonged period of low LNG prices.

Image: http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/petronas-cancels-11-4-billion-lng-project-near-prince-rupert





Chief Yahaan Speaks

Video published on October 2015

On October 13, 2016 I emailed Chief Yahaan of the Gitwilgyoots tribe of the Lax Kw’alaams , and leader of the Lelu Island occupation, a question. I had spoken to him by phone before but had only had minimal email communications. This recent email contact took place before the federal government approved the environmental review for the project. We were in the midst of reports and rumours that PETRONAS might consider moving their LNG plant further north, to a location with less potential for direct harm to the salmon ecology. I put it like this, “Chief, … I am wondering about your own perspective on moving the plant off the island, to the North somewhere as rumoured … is this an acceptable compromise for you and your people, or is it still a NO!… as it just shifts the burden to another area and another community”. His answer was as follows, “I would like to see environmental areas protected and this particular project goes against that  … what I would like to see is more tech work done on the emissions from the plant”. The Chief,makes it clear that beyond the potential of specific damage to the Flora Banks estuary, there is the potential for a more general damage to the environment that needs to be evaluated properly. He seems to be  indicating an openness to research on emissions. He seems to be asking for more science, which brings me to the question of the integrity of the science  being applied and the possibility that the knowledge currently in play is the product of a scary science.