Thursday, June 1, 2017

Pacific NorthWest LNG project one of a number of energy projects awaiting a government

The fate of the PNW LNG project
may become part of the political
fallout playing out in Victoria in
the post election period
As British Columbia's political destiny plays out, the fate of a  number of high profile energy projects will quickly move to the front of the line, particularly if as seems likely that the province has an NDP government assisted by the Green Party sitting in the Legislature by the end of June.

Any NDP/Green takeover of power will apparently have to wait until Premier Christy Clark calls the Legislature back into session, a period of procedure that even she seems to admit will sooner rather than later mean a non-confidence vote and the shift of power to the forces across the aisle.

Whilemuch of the discussion on energy so far has involved the Kinder Morgan Pipeline project and the work taking place on the Site C hydro electric project, one Northwest issue not to be left out off the list set for a look over will be that of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project set for Lelu Island.

The PNW LNG project was one which was targeted by NDP leader John Horgan as a proposal placed in the wrong location, with Mr. Horgan frequently outlining his preference for the LNG terminal to be shifted over to Ridley Island.

Over the course of the debate on the controversial industrial development both the NDP leader and MLA Jennifer Rice have outlined a range of concerns that they have had with the project, some of which seemed to mirror the same areas of note offered up Mr. Weaver's Green Party.

In recent months, the Malaysian energy giant Petronas has been working on a plan that could see the LNG loading facility relocated to a dock off of Ridley, away from the eel grass beds of Lelu Island, while the production terminal itself would remain in the initial site that was approved.

Reports out of Malaysia in April prior to the election results also suggested  that the company might even consider a shift of the entire facility to the Ridley site, though little has been seen on that concept since the initial Star on Line report.

Whether either concept would satisfy a John Horgan government remains to be seen, as many of his previous thoughts on a relocation for the site came before he had the need of some Green votes to secure his ambition of forming a minority government.

Considering the Green Party's strong feelings when it comes to LNG development one wonders if even the concept of a relocated shipment terminal will be enough to keep a Green assisted-NDP government on board with the development of an LNG industry that still has the Christy Clark's fingerprints on it.

How they approach Energy issues appears to be one of the  major themes that the NDP and Greens will still have to work out when it comes to a common platform.

Already the battle lines are forming outside of the province as both the Federal and Alberta governments express their concerns over gaining access to British Columbia tidewater to ship resources to markets overseas.

Notley says B.C. must allow Alberta access to the coast
Get set for B.C. v.s Alberta and Ottawa in a pipeline battle royale

With all of that bluster still roiling up, it will be fascinating to see how the two partners that are looking to grab the reins of power will address the entire concept of a BC LNG industry while trying to reconcile their climate action strategy.

The Globe and Mail's Brent Jang who has spent quite a bit of time travelling the North Coast reviewing the early stages of the LNG proposals for the region has offered up an outline of the potential for a looming battle between the Trudeau government and the guardians of what will be the new reality in BC politics.

As part of his overview of the potential showdown between the Feds and the NDP/Green group, Mr. Jang recounts some of the past observations by Mr. Horgan on the PNW proposal, as well as Mr. Weaver's criticism when it came to the approval by the Federal Government for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

You can review the Globe item here.

Petronas is still in the process of reviewing its Final Investment Plans for the proposed development, with a new political landscape in the offing for the province, that review may now feature some new elements to add to the mix as the Malaysian energy company weighs its options and financial commitment.

For a look back at some of the past notes related to the Pacific NorthWest LNG project see our archive page here.

To keep up to speed on the ever changing political situation out of Victoria, you can follow our daily digest of post election developments from our D'Arcy McGee portal.

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