Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pacific NorthWest LNG project may get caught up in new Federal Government mandate on climate analysis

The proposed LNG terminal at
Lulu Island may be subject to
further climate analysis requirements
from the Federal Government
The House of Commons returned to work on Monday and the politics of energy took over a good portion of the debate for MP's on their first day back on the job.

The return to their desks making for a boisterous opening session for 2016, much of it focused on the issue of the controversial Energy East pipeline proposal.

Energy East: the pipeline that could tear Canada apart
Will battle over Energy East pipeline threaten national unity

The theme of pipelines and the energy sector would come to dominate much of the headlines on the day, and as a report from the Globe and Mail has outlined a number of potentially significant changes could be ahead when it comes to the regulatory review process for energy projects.

Two key areas that the Liberal Government is apparently looking towards when it comes to their new views on resource development include increased climate analysis and additional consultation with First Nations.

The first indication of that shift on the issue by the Liberal government was provided by way of the mandate letters to the Ministers of Natural Resources and Environment back in November.

One passage among the many various references to climate change and environmental concerns in those mandate letters, provides a sense of the new approach ahead for the Liberal government.

In partnership with provinces and territories, develop a plan to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with our international obligations and our commitment to sustainable economic growth. 

The reports on the changes to come as reported by the Globe, have not as of yet been confirmed by representatives in the Natural Resources and Environment Ministries, who noted yesterday that their plans have yet to be finalized.

And while the majority of the focus on the potential of a new mandate has been on the nation's pipelines, of key interest to those in the Northwest will be the concept of increased climate analysis that the Globe and Mail notes will apparently will be made part of the overview on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

The project reportedly won't be required to return to square one as part of the process, but the additional requirement on climate analysis could add to the timeline delays related to any approval for the project.

The issue of time lines related to approval and final investment decisions, is one that officials at the Malaysian energy company Petronas, the parent of Pacific NorthWest LNG have spoken out on in the past.

As we outlined on the blog in early January, Petronas officials who are waiting for final CEAA approval for their proposed Lelu Island project noted that the development "can't be held in abeyance indefinitely" adding that the "window is closing fast" when it comes to the timelines for the proposed development.

More background on the Liberal plans for more advanced climate analysis and other issues related to energy sector proposals can be found below:

Ottawa to require climate change tests in oil pipeline reviews, Trudeau says
Feds promise new rules for reviewing pipeline projects
Opposition to make pipelines 'huge priority' a Parliament resumes
Justin Trudeau says government won't act as pipeline projects 'cheerleaders' as Tories did

1 comment:

  1. the full cycle GHG impact of LNG export facilities has been studied time and time again in multiple jurisdictions. The result is always the same when done by independent organizations or consultancies. LNG shipped to Asia will result in lower wellhead to burnertip emissions as they will result in natural gas replacing coal fired generation or fuel for industrial facilities. It is senseless to do anything more than survey existing research and studies.