Natural gas minister Rich Coleman (left)

Coleman plays down Petronas LNG threat

Talks going well with Malaysian energy giant, B.C.'s tax not a deal-breaker for LNG development, minister Rich Coleman says

WHISTLER – B.C.’s minister for natural gas development is playing down a threat from the president of Malaysian energy giant Petronas to withdraw from its $10 billion project to export liquefied natural gas from a terminal near Prince Rupert.

Petronas CEO Shamsul Abbas was quoted in the international business paper Financial Times Thursday accusing Canada and B.C. of “uncertainty, delay and short vision” in its regulations, taxes and “lack of appropriate incentives” to invest.

B.C. minister Rich Coleman said Thursday he contacted Petronas when he saw the report. He said Abbas has expressed similar concerns before, but B.C. negotiators continue to work on terms for a master development agreement.

Coleman said company representatives assured him the province has met every deadline Petronas has asked for, and he and Premier Christy Clark are set to meet with Abbas when he visits Canada next week.

“We know that we are getting to a spot competitively, globally, because everybody’s told us that, but he’s representing the interests of Petronas as we go through this,” Coleman said. “We’re going to represent the interests of British Columbia, to make sure B.C. gets its share of this opportunity.”

The Malaysian state-owned company is leading a consortium that includes Chinese, Japanese, Indian and Brunei investors for a pipeline and LNG processing in northern B.C. Petronas paid $5 billion last year to take over Progress Energy Canada, which has major shale gas holdings in northeast B.C. and Alberta.

The B.C. government plans to pass legislation in October to establish a tax on LNG exports. Coleman said the provincial tax is a small part of the negotiations, which include B.C.’s air quality requirements and protection of fish habitat at the Lelu Island site on the North Coast.

Fisheries impact from construction of the port could cause Petronas to change its design, which would delay development, but the project is not at risk, Coleman said.

“I think the only risk to any project in B.C. and anywhere in the world is the price of natural gas,” Coleman said. “If you can’t get the return on your investment and capital from the price you can sell it for, you’re not making the final investment decision, but that’s always been the case.”

NDP leader John Horgan said Abbas’ comments sound like “negotiating in public,” but B.C. has been slow to pursue export of vast shale gas reserves that have been known for many years.

VIDEO: Premier Christy Clark calls Petronas’ threat a negotiation tactic

Just Posted

The 38th annual New Year Classic saw 172 players in 226 matches

New lights in Oak Bay tennis bubble illuminate local talent

Passengers bound for Victoria say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Third Victoria person pricked by needle in past week

Police say this one appears to have been deliberately placed

Saanich’s Cadboro Bay neighbourhood gets ready for its close up

Revisions to local area plan are set to decide future of popular beachfront neighbourhood

Police in brief: Teens nabbed for pot smoking near Oak Bay cop shop

Yacht club thefts, fireworks found and wakeful arrest in Oak Bay this week

Spike in graffiti for Oak Bay

“Someone knows who this is and I encourage them to call us or Crime Stoppers”

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

Cougars clipped by Bucs, remain tied for first in South

Victoria junior B puck squad neck and neck with Saanich

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

Victoria hits the road after weekend wins over Kamloops

Western Hockey League club in Portland on Wednesday night

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

Video: B.C. documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

David Emerson quits lumber talks as legal action begins

Former federal minister served as B.C. softwood trade point man

Most Read