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Malaysian promise

October 07, 2013

Malaysia’s state oil firm Petronas plans to spend $36 billion to develop shale gas assets in Canada and build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Prince Rupert, BC to energy hungry Asian markets.

In the recent announcement Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted as saying in newspapers that the project, announced last year after Petronas bought Progress Energy, would make the Southeast Asian country the biggest foreign investor in Canada. Prime Minister Harper in Malaysia en route the the APEC summit welcomed the investment by Petronas.

The $36 B figure was much higher than previously discussed. The Pacific NorthWest LNG (proponent name) website mentioned a cost of $9 -11 B for the LNG facility. Petronas plans to spend around $20 billion to build two LNG trains, which super chill gas into liquid form, on the West Coast, with around $8 B for a pipeline to the coast. The trains are expected to be ready by the end of 2018 or 2019. In addition, the company spent $5B to acquire Progress Energy Resources. The rest of the investment is presumably in drilling activity to find natural gas.

Pacific NorthWest LNG will generate new economic and social benefits for the local community, BC and Canada in an environmentally safe and sustainable manner. For example, up to 3,500 jobs will be created at the peak of construction and 200 to 300 operational jobs. Construction is anticipated to begin by early 2015 and will take approximately four years.

Trans-Canada would build the the 750 kilometer pipeline to the LNG facility. Initial pipeline capacity is expected to be 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, with the ability to expand to 3.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Based on past experience, TransCanada estimates the creation of up to 5,500 construction related jobs over a four year period.


Undoubtedly the large dollar figure $36B was ginned up to maximize publicity for politicians. That said, the Petronas potential investment dollars for the LNG plant and the pipeline will have a huge impact on the northern BC economy over the next 5 years.