Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Federal Election campaign and Malaysian developments could leave Lelu Island project in limbo until October

The Federal election of October 19
most likely means no Federal action
should a CEAA announcement
be made on the Pacific NorthWest project
As Canadians prepare for the 11 week marathon that will be the 2015 Federal election campaign, one high profile North Coast investment will it seems be sidelined at least until the Canadian voters have had their final say.

That would mean that even should the Environmental Assessment Agency issue a favourable review of the Pacific NorthWest LNG plans in the next 11 weeks, if past precedent is an indication, no Federal approval would be granted until after a new cabinet has been put in place in Ottawa.

And things could get even more interesting when it comes to any final federal decision should there be a change of Government on Parliament Hill.

At least if a potential new NDP government were to take the guidance of Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, who has outlined a number of concerns when it comes to approaching LNG development across the Northwest.

While the federal elements now work their way to towards October, the province continues its push forward with its LNG path. Prior to the election call, the Province of British Columbia was quick to take the results of the special summer session of the Legislature to Malaysia

As we outlined on the blog last week, British Columbia's Finance Minister Mike de Jong set his course for Kuala Lumpur shortly after the July vote on the province's LNG agreement, anxious it appeared to take the good news to the Malaysian government.
Lulu Island project may now wait for
the 2015 Federal vote and internal Malaysia
issues to be resolved

Mr. de Jong made a bit of news with a rather eye opening declaration for the Malaysian media that construction on the Lelu Island Terminal could begin as early as September, but even before he could make his way back to British Columbia it seemed that events were starting to line up that might put that timeline into question.

Upon his arrival internal Malaysian political developments in the Asian nation seemed to overtake the news cycle on the Finance Minister.

As we noted at the time, had Mr. de Jong picked up a Malaysian newspaper upon his arrival he would have explored a percolating scandal, which had resulted in a move by the Malaysian government to suspend the publication of a pair of newspapers in that country in relation to some of their financial reporting.

Since then it seems that things haven't improved much for the Malaysian government with word of the internal difficulties making their way to Canada.

Yesterday, the Tyee news site posted a Tuesday morning article on the theme, while later in the day the Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer made note of the trail of recent developments and what could be more political troubles ahead for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak

What kind of impact that all may have on the financial planing for the Malaysian government owned Petronas corporation remains to be seen.

Should the internal politics of the Asian nation prove to not be of too large a concern to larger investment plans, the the focus for the proposed development will shift to the eventual findings of the CEAA review, as well as the results of the October 19th election.

Not to be forgotten as well, word from the Lax Kw'alaam First Nation as to what steps they may take to protect their position on Lelu Island.

When you look at all those factors still be delivered, the prospect of definitive movement on the Pacific Northwest LNG file at the moment seems to be more of a case of suspended decision making, with any number moving parts still to come before the final verdict.

For a more expansive look at some of the background to the Pacific NorthWest project see our archive page here.

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