Natural gas minister Rich Coleman (left)

Coleman plays down Petronas LNG threat

Talks going well with Malaysian energy giant, B.C.'s tax not a deal-breaker for LNG development, minister Rich Coleman says

WHISTLER – B.C.’s minister for natural gas development is playing down a threat from the president of Malaysian energy giant Petronas to withdraw from its $10 billion project to export liquefied natural gas from a terminal near Prince Rupert.

Petronas CEO Shamsul Abbas was quoted in the international business paper Financial Times Thursday accusing Canada and B.C. of “uncertainty, delay and short vision” in its regulations, taxes and “lack of appropriate incentives” to invest.

B.C. minister Rich Coleman said Thursday he contacted Petronas when he saw the report. He said Abbas has expressed similar concerns before, but B.C. negotiators continue to work on terms for a master development agreement.

Coleman said company representatives assured him the province has met every deadline Petronas has asked for, and he and Premier Christy Clark are set to meet with Abbas when he visits Canada next week.

“We know that we are getting to a spot competitively, globally, because everybody’s told us that, but he’s representing the interests of Petronas as we go through this,” Coleman said. “We’re going to represent the interests of British Columbia, to make sure B.C. gets its share of this opportunity.”

The Malaysian state-owned company is leading a consortium that includes Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Brunei investors for a pipeline and LNG processing in northern B.C. Petronas paid $5 billion last year to take over Progress Energy Canada, which has major shale gas holdings in northeast B.C. and Alberta.

The B.C. government plans to pass legislation in October to establish a tax on LNG exports. Coleman said the provincial tax is a small part of the negotiations, which include B.C.’s air quality requirements and protection of fish habitat at the Lelu Island site on the North Coast.

Fisheries impact from construction of the port could cause Petronas to change its design, which would delay development, but the project is not at risk, Coleman said.

“I think the only risk to any project in B.C. and anywhere in the world is the price of natural gas,” Coleman said. “If you can’t get the return on your investment and capital from the price you can sell it for, you’re not making the final investment decision, but that’s always been the case.”

NDP leader John Horgan said Abbas’ comments sound like “negotiating in public,” but B.C. has been slow to pursue export of vast shale gas reserves that have been known for many years.

VIDEO: Premier Christy Clark calls Petronas’ threat a negotiation tactic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerland’s proposed budget requires $16,382,355

2020 budget is nearly half a million higher than the 2019 municipal budget of $15,905,410

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

Five-goal outburst leads Vees to victory

The Penticton Vees continued their march to the playoffs with a 5-2 win over the Warriors, Tuesday.

Summerland taxes expected to rise by 4.0%

Increase to add an estimated $77.73 to typical tax bill

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Like many in British Columbia, you may be worried about running into… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protests in support of Wet’suwet’en continue at B.C. government buildings

‘We are unarmed, they have guns,’ protesters chanted on Wednesday morning

UBC Okanagan art students to improve the environment one project at a time

The Ecosine Art Group uses non-purchased, recyclable mediums for 50 per cent of their art

Disability proves no barrier for 12-year-old Kelowna sit skier

Samuel is a 12-year-old double leg amputee who independently sit-skis

West Kelowna man charged with attempted murder of 79-year-old mother back in court

Kevin Lee Barrett was charged in April 2019 after allegedly beating his mother, leaving her stranded

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Hudson’s Bay spotlights old Vernon store

Old downtown department store remembered fondly

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Highway 1 closed near Golden

DriveBC estimates the road to reopen at 1 p.m.

Dog reunited with Tofino owner, months after being taken from beach

Shannon Boothman ‘ecstatic’ at pet’s return after a tip leads to social media search

Most Read