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The Nexen building in downtown Calgary, in file photo from July. The federal government recently approved the acquisition of Nexen Inc. by China’s CNOOC Ltd.

TODD KOROL/Reuters

China's CNOOC Ltd. has cancelled a liquefied natural gas project planned for northwest British Columbia.

The goal had been to build an LNG terminal on provincial Crown land on Digby Island, located less than four kilometres away from Prince Rupert Airport.

But CNOOC, through its Calgary-based Nexen unit, and its partners announced on Thursday that they have decided to scrap Aurora LNG.

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"Over the past four years, Aurora LNG has been conducting a thorough feasibility study on liquefying and shipping LNG from the northwest coast of British Columbia to Asian markets," the consortium said in a statement on Thursday.

"Through this feasibility study, Aurora LNG has determined that the current macro-economic environment does not currently support the partners' vision of developing a large LNG business at the proposed Digby Island site."

Through Nexen, CNOOC owns 60 per cent of Aurora LNG, while the remaining 40 per cent is held by Inpex Corp., JGC Corp. and JOGMEC, all based in Japan.

"While disappointed in this outcome, Aurora LNG is proud of its work in northwest British Columbia over the past three years and the relationships it has built with local community members, Indigenous groups, stakeholders and government," the consortium said. "The partners are committed to a responsible and orderly conclusion of their activities in the Prince Rupert region."

Aurora LNG is the latest group to halt plans to export fuel from the West Coast to Asia.

Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia's state-owned Petronas, cancelled its construction plans for northwest B.C. in July.

There have been more than 20 British Columbia LNG ventures pitched in recent years. Woodfibre LNG is the lone B.C. LNG venture so far to decide that it is worthwhile to build despite sharply lower prices for the fuel in Asia.

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With the world awash in LNG supplies, low prices in Asia for the fuel have rendered most B.C. LNG proposals uneconomic, industry experts say.

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