KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Petronas today said it will go ahead with the planned Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in British Columbia, Canada, pending final approval by Canadian environmental regulators.
The national oil firm's president and group chief executive, Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, said they are awaiting approval from one more agency, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
"We are hopeful that approval is secured in the coming months... this project cannot be kept in abeyance forever," he said at a news conference here after releasing Petronas' third quarter results.
The company's executive vice-president, Datuk Wee Yiaw Hin, noted that they are only waiting for Canadian authorities to make a decision on one condition regarding the chemical plant that would be built as part of the multi-billion dollar project.
Wee stressed that it is crucial that they get approval within the next few months if they intend to complete the project and get it online by 2020 or early 2021.
Wan Zulkiflee said Petronas is aware of the sustained protest by Canadian aboriginal groups against the pipeline project, but contended that the benefits are apparent for both Canada and Malaysia.
"We think it is good for the country, and it is good for Canada... LNG is the most green fossil fuel around," he said.
The Pacific NorthWest LNG pipeline has faced sustained protests by aboriginal groups, which have reportedly set up camp on Lelu island — where the pipeline's terminal will sit — for the past 10 weeks.
The groups argued that the pipeline will have a drastic effect on the area, which is a rich salmon breeding ground, and deprive Canadians of an important source of food and income.
Members of the consortium planning to build the pipeline, led by Petronas, countered with studies claiming that the project would have no effect on the area's salmon population.