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

Just Posted

Birdhouses built on the Somasss Estuary

Five new birdhouses have been installed as a habitat restoration project by Alberni volunteers

Former Port Alberni hockey player heads to Harvard

Maryna MacDonald will be playing for the Harvard Crimson next fall

Finalists named for Alberni Valley Community Excellence Awards

Chamber of Commerce has named almost 40 finalists

Young Nuu-chah-nulth boy remembered by his big, beautiful smile

A six-year-old boy died in a Port Alberni home on March 13

Fun had by all at the Rock and Gem Show

Alberni Valley Rock and Gem Club hosts largest event so far

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Experimental pot lab sprouting cannabis-infused drinks, new edibles

Nestled inside Canopy Growth Corp.’s sprawling marijuana facility outside Ottawa is a special laboratory

Most Read