Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Petronas still aims for December investment decision; but with many things still to consider

Things have been rather silent on the LNG investment front of late, with the BG Group having put their Ridley Island project on pause for now, the focus shifted quickly to the plans from Petronas, the Malaysian energy giant and their proposed LNG Terminal for Lelu Island.

As we outlined in late September, Petronas had put a bit of a wobble on the local foundation of LNG development, with their warnings regarding the Province's taxation plans and the need for more incentives for investment from both federal and provincial governments.

A concern that led to a first deadline of sorts from the company for the last day of October

Before that date arrived however, the Province delivered its taxation regime, which appears to have shifted the timeline on the Petronas decision process.

Towards calming some of those concerns further, the province dispatched Cabinet Minister Rich Coleman to Malaysia for a November 11th meeting with Petronas officials, though few if any snippets of information seem to have filtered out from those conversations.

With neither Mr. Coleman, or Petronas offering up a status report on how those discussions went, or updates on much else for that matter.

The usually informative website from Rich Coleman the province's LNG Minister hasn't had an update since November 4th.

While the last mention of British Columbia from the Petronas information flow came on October 7th, with a short item relaying the encouragement that the company was finding from the BC Government's commitment to LNG.

Where Petronas may land on its B. C. options is expected to be revealed sometime in mid December, but there are some issues that the energy company has on its checklist before they say Go, Hold, or ... Thanks -- but we're looking elsewhere.

The Natural Gas publication Inferfax Global Energy offers up a slight glimpse into some of those discussion points, part of an article with the title of BC hopes revised LNG tax will sway developers

Key for the North Coast are comments in the article from BC's Finance Minister Mike de Jong, who observed that Petronas is evaluating how their tax status may change when it comes to classifications as a manufacturing operation.

Environmental issues are also part of the discussion, with all LNG proponents, Petronas included,  revising the new emission standards in the province that would limit LNG plans in the amount of C02 that will be allowed, a standard that is lower than industry numbers elsewhere in the world.

Then there is the perceived cost of launching the industry in the province.

The International Energy Agency offered up a bit of a controversial (for Canada) report last week, which suggested that costs for developing LNG in Canada are among some of the highest in the world.

The BC LNG Alliance had a few issues with that observation, detailing a bit of a rebuttal in a recent article in the National Post.

One final area for the Petronas officials to give some thought towards, is the larger issue of the current fall of oil prices, which is having a fairly serious impact on planning for most energy companies, (Just ask the folks at BG) considering the diversification that they all hold when it comes to energy options.

Reports out of Kuala Lumpur in recent days, suggest that Petronas is reviewing its capital expenditure allocation in view of the declining global crude oil prices.

Petronas to review future capex on weak oil prices
Falling oil prices prompts Petronas to review RM300 bil capex allocation

To add to the mix, the Wall Street Journal and a number of other financial news services have reviewed some of the economic prospects for Malaysia and have found that falling commodities prices are having an impact on the nation's economy and plans for the future.

Falling Commodities bit into Malaysian economy harder than most
Falling commodity prices hammer Malaysia
Malaysia's Growth Slows as Exports Sputter, Investment Cools

How those financial reviews and what answers that the State owned energy company receives to its other more direct Canadian concerns, will most likely make for the main points of consideration, as Petronas officials head towards their investment plan decision of mid-December for their Pacific Northwest LNG project.

You can review the path of Pacific NorthWest LNG to this point, from our archive page here.

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