The federal cabinet approved the project “after a rigorous federal environmental assessment.” The 190 legally binding conditions are aimed at lessening the project’s environmental impacts and include measures that will “minimize adverse effects on fish, fish habitat, marine mammals, wetlands, migratory birds, and human health.”
The decision also imposes a maximum cap on annual greenhouse gas emissions from the project.
The environmental certificate for Pacific NorthWest LNG stems from a 339-page report by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
Project legislation was passed in British Columbia in July 2015.
Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, the project’s majority owner, said it will study the conditions of the environmental certificate and conduct a “total review.”
The proposed facility on Lelu Island, about 15 km south of Prince Rupert, would liquefy and export gas produced in northeastern British Columbia. The federal government said the project would create 4,500 jobs during construction and an additional 630 jobs during operation of the facility.
Cost is estimated at $11 billion (Can.), with a total capital investment of up to $36 billion when accounting for upstream natural gas development.
In a statement issued after the decision, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said ocean access from British Columbia’s west coast to Asian markets is Canada’s opportunity to supply growing markets, make a positive contribution to the global energy mix, and lead to action against climate change.
“The government’s commitment to LNG shows that they are interested in balancing both Canada’s sustained environmental leadership and its prosperity,” said Tim McMillan, CAPP’s president and chief executive officer.
“Without access to global LNG markets, Western Canadian natural gas production is expected to decline over the next 10 years,” McMillan added.
In addition to Petronas, the Pacific NorthWest LNG partnership includes Brunei National Petroleum Co., China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., Indian Oil Corp., and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.