A major deal hit the liquefied natural gas (LNG) space on Wednesday when the BC government announced that Premier Christy Clark has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Michael Culbert, president of Pacific Northwest LNG, for a facility in Prince Rupert. The company, which is majority owned by Malaysia-based Petronas, plans to build the facility on Lelu Island in the District of Port Edward on land administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The first phase of the project will consist of two liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, marine infrastructure with two berths for LNG carriers, a material offloading facility and administration and auxiliary buildings. The MOU sets the stage for a potential $36-billion investment in Northern BC, according to Clark, and will be a key driver of jobs and economic activity in the province. First Nations approval still pending However, though an MOU has been signed, Culbert made it clear that the deal is far from done. And indeed, considering the province has yet to gain approval from First Nations, there are likely some hurdles yet to come. BC and Pacific Northwest LNG have been in talks with various First Nations regarding the Lelu Island facility for some time. But while 14 agreements related to it have been reached to date, a $1-billion benefits package offered to the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation in a bid to win support for the facility was swiftly rejected in a vote last week. Pacific Northwest LNG has attempted to alleviate the band's primary concern regarding the pipeline's potential impact on Flora Bank, an underwater area adjacent to Lelu Island that is home to maturing salmon, by proposing to build a 1.7-kilometer suspension bridge to bypass the sensitive ecosystem.