The largest single infrastructure investment in B.C. history could get the green light as early as Monday.
Rumours surfaced last week that LNG Canada was preparing to announce a final investment decision on its $40 billion gas export facility in Kitimat.
Now, Bloomberg is reporting that Royal Dutch Shell and its four partners in the project have signed off on the deal, with an announcement possibly coming to start the week.
Royal Dutch Shell would not confirm the report on Sunday.
A final investment decision in the project was postponed in July 2016 due to tumbling oil and gas prices.
Since then, a potential pipeline between the Peace Region — where the gas would be extracted — and Kitimat, has won the backing of all First Nations along the route, and crude oil price prospects have begun to improve.
Energy giant Petronas also bought into the project last spring.
WATCH: $40-billion B.C. LNG project could soon get green light
Stewart Muir, executive director of Resoruce Works, said while Shell hasn’t confirmed the decision, he’s optimistic about the chances of the project, which he described as “monumental in scale.”
“If this does happen, it will be a gigantic story and it will make a lot of people happy,” he said.
“It will stretch from the coast all the way back up to the northeast, the Peace River country where the gas comes from, there will have to be a new pipeline built, there will have to be the infrastructure to produce the gas… suffice to say they will require thousands of workers.”
But Tom Green with the David Suzuki Foundation warned that weak regulations in B.C. around methane leakage in LNG extraction would mean the province would miss its target to reduce emissions of that gas by 45 per cent by 2025, helping accelerate climate change.
“Really we should be transitioning to a low carbon economy, to less greenhouse gas pollution, so our focus should be on building out renewables, and this is doubling down on yesterday’s economy,” he said.
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He said if the project does go forward, B.C. needs to develop “best in class” regulations to ensure the project is as clean as possible.
If approved, the LNG project could could also set off a political bombshell in Victoria.
The BC Green party, on whose support the NDP minority government relies to remain in power, has warned that significant LNG development would violate their power-sharing deal.
The NDP and Greens’ Confidence and Supply Agreement (CASA) pledges to draft a climate plan that would reduce greenhouse gasses by 40 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050, something Weaver believes is impossible with LNG.
Weaver was unavailable for an interview Sunday, but tweeted earlier in the day that failing to meet that plan would break the deal, and adding the the Greens would not vote for any NDP LNG legislation.
However, the NDP appear committed to developing the industry.
The government introduced a PST exemption for construction costs on LNG projects in March, along with a $30 per tonne carbon tax cap for the industry in order to woo would-be projects.
Last week, Premier John Horgan spoke favourably about the industry.
“We’ll see what LNG Canada does, but should they proceed with the final investment decisions, it will be certainly significant for our province,” said Horgan on Wednesday.
LNG Canada is a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell Plc,, PetroChina Co. Ltd, Mitsubishi Corp and Korea Gas Corp. TransCanada Corp will build the pipeline.
— With files from Ted Chernecki and Richard Zussman