Does Malaysian LNG Mega-Project for BC Coast Need Environmenal Assessment?


The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is seeking public input on whether or not to hold a federal environmental assessment process for a proposed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) mega-project on BC’s north coast. The plant, dubbed Pacific Northwest LNG, is designed to turn natural gas from northeast BC into super-cooled liquid so it can be shipped to new markets in Asia, currently paying a higher price for the commodity.

Citizens have until March 11 to let the government know whether the proposal for Prince Rupert – one of half a dozen slated for that community and nearby Kitimat – should undergo a thorough environmental assessment.

Project proponent Progress Energy became a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian state-owned energy giant Petronas in December, when Stephen Harper approved the controversial buyout. The decision followed lengthy deliberations, during which time Harper was pressured directly by the Malaysian Prime Minister.

Just prior to that, the two companies announced their intention to proceed with the $9-11 Billion project, regardless of the fate of the buyout, but indicated the project’s size would vary accordingly.

A Financial Post story at the time noted, “If the takeover bid is a go, the LNG plant, named Pacific Northwest LNG, will export two billion cubic feet a day of liquefied natural gas. If the bid is not approved, the two companies will continue as separate entities and work on a plant with the capacity to export 1.2 billion cubic feet a day. Either way, the project will proceed at an ‘aggressive’ pace.”

Petronas’ mega-project is far from the only LNG plant proposed for BC’s coast. There are at least five major projects proposed by a host of North American, Asian and European natural gas players – some of which have already received some level of approval. These include Kitimat LNG, of which Chevron just purchased a majority stake, and Kitimat-based, Shell-led LNG Canada, a consortium which includes Japanese, Chinese and Korean partners.

These plants are a key piece of a promised natural gas boom that is a central plank in the BC Liberals’ economic and election platform. They also bring with them considerable environmental and economic concerns – from the shaky financial foundation of the nascent industry to the water and air contamination caused by fracking – a controversial, new technique used for harnessing much of the gas that would feed these LNG plants.

The plants themselves would create local air pollution and carbon emissions, as they plan to burn some of their own product to to meet the enormous energy demands of processing gas into liquid.

Progress/Petronas’ project description is available to download here. Comments can be emailed to – or see mailing and fax info here.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

3 thoughts on “Does Malaysian LNG Mega-Project for BC Coast Need Environmenal Assessment?

  1. Thursday, 28 February 2013 16:47 posted by myna lee johnstone

    i really don’t know what it will take to call a hault to all the destructive practices we human are engaging in

    Thursday, 21 February 2013 20:03 posted by Andrea

    If only environmental assessments in Canada were truly comprehensive and robust. Yet another change we desperately need to start lobbying hard for.

    Wednesday, 20 February 2013 10:46 posted by Hugh

    “Does Malaysian LNG Mega-Project for BC Coast Need Environmenal Assessment?”

    No, it needs to be cancelled outright.

    It can only proceed with massive public subsidies of water and energy.

    And we use natural gas here in BC, in case the Govt idiots have forgotten.

    Tuesday, 19 February 2013 22:14 posted by the salamander

    Canada and British Columbia will accept the extermination of cetacean marine life as an acceptable trade-off for letting Chinese tankers enter and exit the Douglas Channel on a constant and daily basis. Yes, they will have two or three tugboats attached.. and with sonar blasting.

    Our brilliant Prime Minister, despite his Degree in Economics and advanced skill sets re opacity, electoral fraud and deceit.. cannot fathom how deleting a critical member of the marine food chain could trigger a cascade of biological failure..

    But .. that’s why he has fools like Oliver, Kent and Ashfield.. Oh to be the fly on the wall and hear these arseholes converse ….

    Gotta love Peter Kent, rationalizing the poisoning and shooting of the boreal wolves.. After all, he is the Minister of Environment. Joe Oliver is competing with Keith Ashfield for twit of the year… with John Baird & ol Stevie Harper running at the head of the pack of twit losers

    Tuesday, 19 February 2013 20:12 posted by Harold Steves

    Hope for saving our beautiful planet is dimming. The rush to sell our resources at the greatest possible pace will be our undoing. Natural Gas/LNG is one of the worlds greatest producers of climate changing carbon dioxide. Along with coal and oil it has been stored beneath the earths surface for 65 million years. Over the millennia that this carbon was being stored our climate changed from torrential rains, devastating droughts and turbulent storms to the moderate climate we have today. What will happen if we suddenly put that carbon back into the atmosphere? Already unleashing too much CO2 into the atmosphere has changed our climate for hundreds of years to come. As we sell out our resources here in Canada we may benefit in the short term, while putting our children and grandchildren at risk. Will future generations see us as prudent planners or as plunderers of the planet?

    Tuesday, 19 February 2013 19:06 posted by George Simich

    A thorough environmental assessment should be mandatory for all fossil fuel development, especially when the proposal is being made by a foreign government or corporation. A provincial environmental assessment should be conducted, as well.

Comments are closed.