KUALA LUMPUR – July 27, 2016: Despite doubts and criticisms from some, news of the aborted Petronas-led liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Canada has been defended in both countries.
Financial Post business columnist Claudia Cattaneo puts the blame on British Columbia’s New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial government for cancellation of the project, estimated to be worth RM123.9 billion ($36 billion Canadian dollars).
Cattaneo, in her column, insisted that the deal failed because of the government’s mishandling and not just due to poor market condition as officially told to the public by the companies involved.
“What should have been a magnificent new Canadian industry, building middle-class jobs from exporting Western Canada’s world-class Montney shale gas to reduce carbon pollution in Asia, has unravelled due in large part to government mishandling.
“With energy prices collapsing and industry struggling to stay viable, Pacific NorthWest LNG needed less, not more government costs and regulations.
“The company said it hasn’t locked up deals with US (United States) LNG export facilities. Don’t be surprised if that’s where Petronas end up shipping their BC (British Columbia) Motney gas, instead of through the terminal they wanted to build on the much-closer BC coast,” she wrote.
PNW LNG courted controversy almost immediately after the Canadian federal government gave the project the green light last year, with the bulk of the project detractors being Canadian environmentalists.
Some Canadians also shared Cattaneo’s views at Facebook.
“Just imagine all the revenue and jobs for British Columbia and Canada the project would have created. Not to mention that clean burning LNG would have offset coal fired power plants in Asia, thus reducing climate change,” wrote Randy Heilman.
“Yeah, great, leave everything in the ground and drive out investors with prohibitive costs and taxes. Let’s see how this works out,” wrote Russ Miller.
“Why do our government wants us to be poor? Our country is rich in resources. This project would bring good paying jobs,” wrote Albert Johnson.
At the same time, many Malaysians want Petronas to be more careful in future dealings in Canada.
“Hopefully, Petronas has learnt its lessons of doing business with Canada. The NDP provincial government is known to do nothing other than driving a province’s economy to the ground,” wrote KS Ling.
“I was involved in some oil and gas deals in Canada in 2003 – 2005. They do tend to include a lot of hidden clauses in their agreement,” wrote Munir Othman.
Lukman Sheriff, on his facebook wall deemed that given the current circumstances, Petronas had made the right decision to pull out from the project.
“I think Petronas made a hefty loss on this but it’s a right decision not to proceed as it is not economical,” he wrote.