UPDATE: LNG Canada project in British Columbia given final approval by shareholders - InfoNews

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UPDATE: LNG Canada project in British Columbia given final approval by shareholders

Shell Integrated Gas & New Energies Director Maarten Wetselaar, left, and LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz shake hands after signing a final investment declaration to build the LNG Canada export facility in Kitimat, B.C., during a news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
October 02, 2018 - 1:37 PM

VANCOUVER - Final approval for a massive liquefied natural gas project in northern British Columbia shows that major resource projects can be built in the province, the CEO of LNG Canada said Tuesday.

The future of major energy projects in British Columbia has been at the centre of a debate because of the provincial NDP government's opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline. But Andy Calitz said the LNG plant that's planned for Kitimat on B.C.'s coast and a 670-kilometre pipeline delivering natural gas from the northeast corner of the province shows the way forward.

"It validates the reality that in B.C. projects can be done if it is done in the right way when it comes to resource development through a process of building relationship before we build the project," he said.

"LNG Canada proves today that British Columbia, the beautiful province of British Columbia, and Canada can monetize our significant, low cost natural gas resources, that we can access new markets in Asia, that B.C. and Canada can attract foreign investment, that B.C. and Canada can deliver competitive energy projects and take a place on the global map of energy exporting countries."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the project is an example of his often repeated position that exporting Canada's energy resources is possible while also protecting the environment.

"We can't build energy projects like we did in the old days, where the environment and the economy were seen as opposing forces," said Trudeau.

"In the 21st century, we don't have to choose between a healthy environment and a strong economy. They must go together."

The five partners in the LNG project have agreed to a $40-billion joint venture. Trudeau said the amount being spent is the largest single investment by the private sector in Canadian history.

The partners — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., the Malaysian-owned Petronas, PetroChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — delayed the final investment decision in 2016, citing a drop in natural gas prices.

Each company will be responsible to provide its own natural gas supply and will individually market its share of liquefied natural gas.

The decision involves two processing units, with the first liquefied natural gas expected to be shipped before the middle of the next decade.

Calitz said the project received support from the B.C. government, local First Nations and the Kitimat community — and LNG Canada is ready to proceed with construction.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement the project "symbolizes the kind of balanced and sustainable path forward British Columbians are looking for."

But provincial Green party Leader Andrew Weaver called the announcement a "profound disappointment."

"Adding such a massive new source of (greenhouse gases) means that the rest of our economy will have to make even more sacrifices to meet our climate targets. A significant portion of the LNG Canada investment will be spent on a plant manufactured overseas, with steel sourced from other countries," he said in a statement.

"B.C. taxpayers will subsidize its power by paying rates twice as high and taking on the enormous public debt required to build Site C. There may be as little as 100 permanent jobs at LNG Canada. I believe we can create far more jobs in other industries that won't drastically increase our emissions."

Horgan's minority NDP government only governs because of the support of the Green party and the premier said the province realizes the challenge the project brings for its climate change goals but it plans to work with the companies to drive down emissions.

Karen Ogen-Toews, First Nations LNG Alliance CEO called the final investment decision "great news for the B.C. economy, for Canada, and for First Nations."

"Responsible LNG development means real benefits to Indigenous Peoples and communities, long-term careers and reliable revenue to help First Nations close the economic gap between their members and other Canadians," Ogen-Toews said, calling LNG Canada a "leader in dealing with First Nations."

Clean energy advocate Pembina Institute said it is still waiting for the provincial government to reconcile LNG's carbon pollution with its climate goals, adding the LNG Canada project takes B.C. "in the wrong direction."

The District of Kitimat, which will be the terminus of the natural gas pipeline as well as the site of the new terminal to process and ship the product overseas, said it is "extremely pleased."

"It's like reliving our history," said Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, remembering the Aluminum Company of Canada's decision to build a smelter in that north coast city in the 1950s, making what was then the single largest private-sector investment in Canada's history.

"The LNG Canada project will now take top-spot for the largest private-sector investment in Canada."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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