Petronas CEO touts LNG Canada’s emissions benefits, warns delays could be costly

Petronas CEO touts LNG Canada’s emissions benefits, warns delays could be costly

CALGARY — The president and group CEO of oil giant Petronas says the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export facility now under construction in B.C. helps support his company’s recently set goal of having net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But Tengu Muhammad Taufik, speaking during a University of Calgary-sponsored webinar, also warns that delays in completing the project could result in Canada missing out on sales of its abundant natural gas to foreign markets hungry for cleaner fuel to replace coal and nuclear power.

The head of Malaysian government-owned Petronas says it made its emissions reduction commitment in November not to “keep up with the Joneses,” but under pressure from lenders who increasingly want to know about clients’ clean energy plans before giving access to needed capital.

He says he believes that natural gas will be an important transition fuel as the world switches to cleaner sources of energy, adding that oil and gas will likely still provide almost half of total energy 20 to 30 years from now.

Petronas has a 25 per cent stake in the $40-billion LNG Canada project as part of a consortium led by Shell Canada with 40 per cent ownership. The project and the Coastal GasLink pipeline designed to supply it have been the subject of protests and blockades by opponents.

The webinar panel included Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan and Muhammad Taufik used the opportunity to talk about how “policy-makers” should ensure LNG Canada is completed on time.

“I do hope actions allow Canada’s molecules to reach the points of demand within a right window,” he said.

“There is a risk that the further out we go, some of these molecules will get stranded by sheer unavailability or increasing scarcity of capital or consumers shifting in such a big way that LNG doesn’t become palatable for them.”

The webinar was part of the Petronas International Energy Speaker series and hosted by the Centre for Corporate Sustainability at the university’s Haskayne School of Business.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021.

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