Friday, September 11, 2015

British Columbia LNG ambitions in the spotlight with major media reviews today

To this point, British Columbia's still developing LNG industry has been much in the way of what could be and a little less in the range of what will be.

For those following the ongoing discussions related to potential LNG Terminal development on the North Coast, this morning brings a range of reading material, much of which might put a few clouds over the skies for those looking for a positive bit of momentum at this point.

As we previewed on the blog yesterday, the Vancouver Sun was planning to released a heavily promoted article to its website last evening, providing a lengthy overview of some major issues related to the operations of the energy giant Petronas in its own home base of Malaysia.

That article as promised was posted to the Sun's website at 9:00 PM and added yet one more item to the growing number of articles on the parent company for Pacific NorthWest LNG, which has its own hopes of development of an LNG Terminal at Lelu Island near Port Edward.

The Vancouver Sun has turned its attention
towards safety and fiscal issues in the
home base for Petronas of Malaysia
The article which you can review here, highlighted a number of safety issues, concerns and observations on differences of approach for development in the Asian sector  and what could be coming to British Columbia, examining a number of issues related to the Petronas operations in Malaysia.

The eye catching nature of the report focused on what was described as catastrophic safety issues and made use of a 732 page internal audit that was presented to the Malaysian company two years ago.

As part of the review from Peter O'Neil with assistance from Gordon Hoekstra,  the Sun reviewed a number of those problems that were highlighted and followed up on those themes with Rich Coleman the province's LNG Minister, who provided a prepared statement on the issue, a commentary that didn't directly address the questions raised by the journalists.

Also consulted on the British Columbia side of the Pacific Ocean was the environmental group SkeenaWild, which not surprisingly reinforced their concerns over the proposed British Columbia development.

As well, to gain some insight into the political atmosphere in Malaysia, the Sun consulted with UBC political scientist Kai Ostwald, who noted that while the report was a troubling document, the company would most likely elevate standards to be in line with Canadian requirements.

To provide more background on the response from Petronas, the Sun posted some of the Question and Answer session leading up to the article.

In a follow up to the main article, Gordon Hoekstra tackled the topic of regulatory authority over the proposed terminals in British Columbia.

A process which will be taken on by the Province of British Columbia's Oil and Gas Agency, which will be working as the lead authority, even on those proposed for federal lands, should the gas plants ever move beyond the design stage.

You can review the Sun's secondary background article here, it not only outlines how the provincial agency would work, but highlights some of the concerns from those that believe that approach to be put in place is flawed and insufficient to what should be required.

Updates from the Sun: Some follow up articles were posted to the Vancouver Sun website on Friday evening, they can be found below:

Petronas: Powerful, enigmatic, world player
Shocking, disgusting, B. C. critics say of Petronas audit
Petronas audit no cause for concern, Rich Coleman says

That was not the only article on the day to review the status of LNG development at the moment.

The Globe and Mail's Brent Jang, who has been following the LNG sector in British Columbia since day one, provided an article yesterday which notes the growing list of economic concerns that some suggest may make the proposed expansion of LNG development for BC a little less bountiful than first anticipated.

His overview available here, makes note of the financial and regulatory aspects of the proposed LNG development, with fears that growing costs, ongoing gas price weaknesses and delays in approval may all combine to give international companies some second thoughts about their Canadian investment plans.

The Globe and Mail offers up a look
at some of the current economic and
supply conditions on the minds of
potential LNG developers on the
North Coast of British Columbia
The Globe article runs down the list of proposed and still considered active projects in the Prince Rupert area.

Making note of the Pacific NorthWest LNG proposal, as well as the Aurora Energy project at Digby Island and WCC plans for Tuck inlet.

Observing that of the lengthy list of proposed LNG projects in British Columbia only a handful are expected to ever move forward, with the North Coast projects looking to find their spot on that list.

On the theme of regulatory delays, Mr. Jang highlights the current status of the Pacific NorthWest LNG environmental review,  taking note of a recent report from an industry investment group which suggests that the CEAA review on Lelu Island could be extended into 2016.

The day's reading certainly provides for a pull the covers up over your head kind of day for those that might have been hoping for a fast track timeline for LNG development across the Northwest.

If you have been away from the LNG files for a bit, you can catch up on some of the recent developments from our archive page here.

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