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Petronas facing new challenges

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Bloomberg is reporting that the latest challenge facing a US$27 billion LNG terminal that Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd. wants to build in western Canada, is the race for the office of the premier in British Columbia.

John Horgan, leader of the province’s opposition New Democratic Party thrust the LNG project into the middle of his campaign on 10 February, telling reporters it was “poorly sited.” He vowed to “find a better place and a better way” to build the gas export terminal should he become premier.

Petronas is already looking at changing its plans for the terminal to circumvent a sensitive marine area that has become the centre of controversy. After more than three years of regulatory reviews and battles against environmentalists, the company finds itself back in the spotlight ahead of the 9 May election, when Horgan will face off against the ruling B.C. Liberal Party’s Christy Clark, who previously won after promising to create a CAN$100 billion prosperity fund on LNG revenues.

The Pacific Northwest LNG project won Canadian government approval in September following years of regulatory reviews and opposition from environmentalists, scientists and indigenous communities who warned it could disrupt an area critical to migrating salmon. The project has also faced economic headwinds as more than 20 gas export proposals in the province have been stalled by a global supply glut and plunging prices.

To quell local opposition, Petronas is considering moving the project’s docking facilities to neighbouring Ridley Island, where ships would berth to take deliveries of the fuel for export.

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