KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Bloomberg News is reporting that Petronas is seeking to move ahead with a proposed LNG plant on the North Coast after identifying a new site for shipping the fuel, a shift that may help reduce costs and quell local opposition.
According to the Bloomberg article, Pacific NorthWest LNG would go forward as planned with the liquefaction plant on Lelu Island. However according to two people familiar with the negotiations, the docking facilities would be moved to neighbouring Ridley Island, where LNG carriers would dock to take on their cargo.
The redesign would both eliminate the need for a suspension bridge that was part of the original plan, and would not involve an environmentally sensitive marine area that’s been a large source of opposition.
Petronas and its partners are anticipated to decide whether or not they will proceed with the project early next year. The facility would produce as much as 19.2 million metric tonnes a year of LNG and open up a new trade route for Canadian gas to be shipped to Asia.
“Pacific NorthWest LNG is conducting a total project review over the coming months,” spokesman Spencer Sproule said in an e-mail. “During this time, the project is continuing to work with area First Nations, stakeholders and regulators to manage any potential impacts through mitigation measures and design optimization.”
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency confirmed in an email that it hasn’t received any information yet about the possible changes. “If we receive any new information from Petronas, we will review it and determine the appropriate next steps, including any potential environmental assessment requirements,” it said.
The project was approved by the federal government in September after more than three years of regulatory review. Since then, the price of LNG has tanked by more than two-thirds amid a global glut of supply.