Late yesterday, the federal government approved an $11.6B LNG export terminal in Prince Rupert, BC as part of the Petronas led Pacific Northwest LNG project - the largest capital investment project in BC history – that could provide up to $36B in capital investments.
The Trudeau government is caught between squaring their commitments to building the middle class with their promise of reducing greenhouse gasses as per the Paris agreement.
Critics immediately pointed out that the project, once operational, will be the largest GHG emitter in Canada. But what many opposed to this project forget is that by shipping ethical Canadian LNG to Asia, we’re helping those countries reduce their reliance on coal, which doesn’t burn as clean as natural gas.
Approval comes three and a half years after Pacific Northwest LNG first submitted it’s project description to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the $11.6B terminal that will ship 19 million tonnes of LNG to Asia each year is part of a larger $36B investment by Petronas to also construct a pipeline and extraction network in the province.
It also comes as the Trudeau Liberals back away from their election campaign promise of aggressive GHG reduction targets, instead opting to embrace Stephen Harper’s previous targets.
It seems Trudeau and the Liberals are willing to risk some of their 15 BC seats over energy projects if it helps stimulate needed economic growth. But the project is far from a guarantee even after over three years of review and government approval.
In August, Petronas indicated they would be reviewing all aspects of the project even if they get approval.
Have we missed the boat in BC by dragging our feet over the approval?
It’s estimated the project will create 4,500 construction jobs and 630 full time jobs operating the facility.
This could be the single largest investment in Canadian history if Petronas decides to proceed. Lets just hope that BC hasn’t missed the LNG boat.