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First Nation examines change in Pacific NorthWest LNG site

The Lax Kw'alaams Band in British Columbia will hold meetings to discuss a potential site change for the Pacific NorthWest LNG project that would move docking facilities from Lelu Island to nearby Ridley Island.

According to the Lax Kw'alaams' website, members can attend three "community engagement sessions" from Jan. 28 to Jan. 30. The First Nation's band council will provide an update on possible changes to the project, which is led by Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or Petronas.

Bloomberg reported on Dec. 28, 2016, that Petronas is considering the relocation of marine facilities in an effort to cut costs and minimize environmental impacts. A spokesman for the project said the company is conducting "a total project review," but declined to say whether the move to Ridley Island was being considered.

The proposed change would likely trigger additional environmental review, analysts said, which would be yet another step for the C$36 billion venture that has faced challenging market conditions and opposition from First Nations and environmental groups.

Since the Canadian government approved the project in September 2016, environmental group SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and members of the Gitwilgyoots, Gitanyow and Gitxsan First Nations have launched legal actions. The groups argued that the government failed to adequately characterize environmental impacts and failed to properly consult aboriginal groups.

The Pacific NorthWest liquefaction and export project would be capable of producing 20.5 million tonnes per annum from three trains. It would receive natural gas from the Montney Shale via a TransCanada Corp. pipeline. The project received a tentative final investment decision in June 2015, and Petronas is expected to decide whether to move forward later in 2017.