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British Columbia’s natural gas development minister says the federal election and environmental approval are the only wild cards holding up a proposed $36-billion liquefied natural gas plant in the province.

Rich Coleman says a false media report from Malaysia claims that slumping oil and gas prices have the country’s state-owned energy giant Petronas considering delaying its LNG project near Prince Rupert for up to nine years.

He says meetings in Vancouver last week between the joint-venture project’s five financial backers, including Petronas, confirmed they are waiting for federal environmental approval after the election on Monday.

Petronas executive vice-president Wee Yiaw Hin issued a statement Thursday from Kuala Lumpur, after a series of analysts warned over the past six months that weak LNG prices in Asia and other issues could delay the project by months, if not years.

“Petronas would like to reaffirm its commitment to deliver long-term LNG supply to its customers through the Pacific NorthWest LNG project in Canada, despite the current market volatility for oil and gas,” said Mr. Wee, who is also chairman of Pacific NorthWest LNG. “Together with its partners, Petronas is ready to proceed with the project on the condition that it receives the remaining regulatory approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency [CEAA].”

The B.C. government approved a project development deal last summer, when Petronas-backed Pacific NorthWest LNG officials said federal environmental approval would be the last hurdle.

The company recently said the B.C. project is going full steam ahead.

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