March 24, 2016 / 10:03 AM / 4 years ago

Malaysia's Petronas says still in talks with Canada on LNG project

KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 (Reuters) - Malaysian energy firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) continues to hold talks with Canadian authorities on how it can move forward with its much-delayed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, a company official said on Thursday.

State-owned Petronas and its project partners have been waiting for nearly three years for a permit to build the Pacific NorthWest LNG facility in Northern British Columbia. The project has come under contention as aboriginal and environmental groups have said it would threaten a salmon habitat.

Canada’s federal environment assessment agency last week granted an additional three months to finish an impact study on the project.

“We will continue to work constructively with the Canadian government and regulators to see how we can move forward,” Adnan Zainol Abidin, Petronas vice president of global LNG projects, told reporters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

Earlier this month, Canada’s National Post newspaper reported that Petronas was threatening to walk away from the project. However, Pacific NorthWest LNG president denied that Petronas would abandon the project if the federal government did not approve it by the end of March.

Asked if Petronas will reconsider its position on the project, Abidin said: “We will make that call when the time is prudent.”

Analysts say Petronas has already sunk some $12 billion in the project, roughly a third of its entire cost. Struggling with lower energy prices, the company earlier this year announced $12 billion in spending cuts over the next four years.

The Canadian government has said it will announce a final decision on the project this year. (Reporting by Emily Chow; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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