Pacific NorthWest LNG project Under Serious Controversy due to Climate Change Concern

Pacific NorthWest LNG project backed by Petronas, in British Columbia, Canada is being questioned by a group of international climate change experts. More than ninety scientist and experts across the globe have written an open letter to Canada’s Environment minister Catherine McKenna. They say, “We the undersigned scientists and climate experts request that you reject the proposed Pacific Northwest (PNW) LNG project due its significant adverse environmental effects from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. PNW LNG would be one of the single largest point source emitters in Canada. When upstream emissions are added to facility emissions, the project would add between 18.5 and 22.5% to British Columbia’s (BC) total GHG emissions.”

While fully disagreeing with these allegations British Columbia Environment minister says, “LNG has a key role to play as a transition fuel – and that those experts haven’t taken a wide enough view of the industry. The authors have taken a myopic view of the situation.” Pacific NorthWest LNG has also immediately released its reaction to the letter. “Our B.C. project will help shift the world to a greener future, dismissing the claim by climate experts who are urging Ottawa to block the proposal to export liquefied natural gas to Asia. We are committed to building and operating a world-class LNG facility in an environmentally sustainable manner that First Nations and residents in the region can be proud of.” Says Spencer Sproule, Pacific NorthWest LNG’s senior adviser of corporate affairs.

In a review by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) this year, the project will produce 19.2 megatons of LNG per year when it starts operating at its full capacity and GHG emissions will range from 6.5 and 8.7 megatons of CO2e per annum or around 160 to 210 megatons of GHG over 25 years. Pacific NorthWest LNG will be submitting new reports to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by May wherein it will address lingering concerns about its plans to start executing this project. The consortium led by Malaysia’s state-owned oil company Petronas is seeking to push the project across the finish line after a series of delays. These filings are very significant as far the fate of this project is concerned and further delays are going to pile up the cost of this prestigious project by Petronas.

The project ’s estimated cost of $36 billion includes natural gas production in northeastern B.C., pipelines required to transport it to the coast and the planned $11.4-billion export terminal. This terminal will super-cool the natural gas so that it can be transported /shipped by tanker to Asia. PNW LNG is expected to contribute up to $1.3 billion annually to federal, provincial and municipal governments in the form of various taxes and royalties and that’s huge revenue. It will be providing direct employment to 330 and indirect to 450 personals.

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