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First Nation deals signed on PNW LNG

British Columbia government paves way for ultimate sanctioning of Petronas-operated project

The British Columbia government and the Lax Kw’alaams First Nations tribe have signed three major benefits agreements that could help pave the way for the proposed C$36 billion (US$27.6 billion) Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas export project.

The Lax Kw’alaams tribe also signed a fourth benefits agreement with project operator Petronas, of Malyasia.

“After many meetings and negotiation sessions, I feel pleased we are at this stage,” said Lax Kw’alaams mayor John Helin.

The benefits agreement includes a trust fund and capital for road improvements and infrastructure for the Northern BC aboriginal community.

It also stipulates that, should Petronas and its partners sanction PNW LNG, a pre-determined amount of money will be released from the trust and the balance will become available once facility construction begins. 

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The province will also transfer 1942 hectares of Crown land to the Lax Kw’alaams.

The Coastal Fund benefits agreements defines the ongoing benefits to the Lax Kw’alaams during PNW LNG export operations and any future LNG exports from other projects in the Prince Rupert area.

A pipeline benefits agreement was also signed with TransCanada related to its proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line.

Lastly, the PNW LNG joint venture - which includes Petronas and partners Sinopec, Japan Petroleum Exploration, Indian Oil, and PetroleumBrunei - signed an impact benefits agreement that gives members access to employment and training; financing for cultural support; participation in environmental monitoring; First Nations’ business opportunities; and annual payments based on production.

“Working with the Lax Kw’alaams and our other First Nations partners is an important part of the legacy we’re working hard to build in north-western British Columbia,” said PNW LNG chief project officer Wan Badrul.

The Canadian federal government granted conditional approval of the two-train, 6-million-tonnes-per-annum in September. The joint venture is conducting a total project review before it makes a final investment decision.