VANCOUVER — Investors have given final approval for a massive liquefied national gas project in northern British Columbia.
The five partners have agreed to the $40-billion joint venture that includes a gas liquefaction plant in Kitimat on B.C.'s coast and a 670-kilometre pipeline delivering natural gas from the northeast corner of the province.
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.
But, with the final investment decision, each company will be responsible to provide its own natural gas supply and will individually market its share of liquefied gas.
The decision involves two processing units, with first liquefied natural gas expected before the middle of the next decade.
LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz says the project received support from the B.C. government, local First Nations and the Kitimat community.
"This decision showcases how industrial development can co-exist with environmental stewardship and Indigenous interests," he said in a news release late Monday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the LNG Canada announcement represents the single largest private sector investment project in Canadian history.
"It is a vote of confidence in a country that recognizes the need to develop our energy in a way that takes the environment into account, and that works in meaningful partnership with Indigenous communities," he said in the LNG Canada statement.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said the project "symbolizes the kind of balanced and sustainable path forward British Columbians are looking for."
"We welcome the unprecedented commitment shown by the LNG Canada partners to work within our province's ambitious climate goals," he said in the same statement. "The critical importance of this project is what it represents — the intersecting of economic development, jobs for local workers, partnerships with Indigenous communities and forward-looking climate leadership."
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.
Weaver noted the NDP were outspoken critics of the project when they were in Opposition under the Liberals.
"Our caucus was shocked when they turned around and delivered an even larger giveaway once in power," he said. "We did everything we could to deter them from making this decision, but we are only three MLAs up against the 84 whose parties support the heavy subsidization of this industry."
— The Canadian Press