Canada’s federal government on Tuesday gave its conditional approval to the huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in northern British Columbia (B.C.), according to CBC.
Lead party in the so-called Pacific NorthWest LNG project is Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas giant Petronas, which has been waiting three years for this green light.
The project will entail moving natural gas from B.C.’s northeast through a TransCanada pipeline to a terminal on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert.
A trio of ministers – for Environment, for Natural Resources and for Fisheries – joined BC’s provincial premier to make the announcement that the $8.5bn project could go ahead.
They emphasized that the approval came after extensive consultations with indigenous communities and after environmental studies – some including dire warnings about the likely greenhouse gas emissions the project would produce.
Hence it carries 190 legally binding conditions regarding protection of environment, wildlife and First Nations (aboriginal) cultural heritage.
Last month the project advocates had an encouraging sign when a First Nations group in the affected area said it could be open to the project on certain conditions.
Although the government has given its conditional OK, there is still an economic hurdle to overcome – the low price of natural gas may deter or stall the backers.
Petronas has said it will conduct a total review before making an investment decision.
The consortium led by Petronas includes China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, Japan Petroleum Exploration Company, Indian Oil Corp and Brunei National Petroleum Company.