The British Columbia government and Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas have signed a development deal that will make the province Canada’s first major exporter of liquefied natural gas.
“There has been a lot of work getting here in obtaining and securing a $36-billion investment and there’s still a lot of work ahead of us,” B.C. Premier Christy told media. “We’ve worked hard to build strong partnerships with First Nations and that work is still under way, as is the federal government’s regulatory process for environmental approvals.”
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The deal will be sent to the B.C. legislature for ratification later in the year.
“The pact spells out the tax regime and LNG rules for the long term, aiming to reduce the risks for the project’s Asian backers,” the Globe and Mail reports. “The project development agreement with Pacific NorthWest LNG promises compensation if a future government seeks to raise tax rates in a way that targets the LNG industry. That template will apply to other firms, as well.”
In September, Petronas “threatened to cancel  the massive venture, complaining about regulatory delays and pushing the B.C. government to move faster in drafting stable and predictable tax and LNG rules.”
More recently, the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation rejected  a $1-billion, 40-year deal for access to their territory as a site for an LNG expert terminal. The community vote sent “an unequivocal message this is not a money issue,” the Lax Kw’alaams council said in a statement. “This is environmental and cultural.”
“There is heavy lifting remaining on this project,” Pacific NorthWest President Michael Culbert acknowledged Wednesday.