Canada’s Quebec has rejected approval for the construction of $7.2bn Énergie Saguenay liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project, citing environmental concerns.

GNL Quebec, the initiator of the project, had proposed to build the LNG export facility in the industrial zone of the Port of Saguenay, nearly 200km north of Quebec City.

Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette said that GNL Quebec was not able to show that it complied with the requirements set by the government to authorise the project.

The ministry concluded that the implementation of the project could lead to slowing down the energy transition of the client countries of the project.

Charette said: “We had to face the facts that the risks of the Énergie Saguenay project outweigh its benefits.”

The Énergie Saguenay project was planned to have an export capacity of 11 million tonnes of LNG per year, by liquefying natural gas sourced from Western Canada.

As part of the project, a 780km natural gas pipeline was proposed to connect to the existing main gas transmission network located in northeastern Ontario.

The project, consisting of natural gas liquefaction trains and LNG storage tanks, was targeted to begin operations in 2026.

GNL spokesman Louis-Martin Leclerc was quoted by The Canadian Press as saying: “Our board of directors will evaluate the next steps to deal with this difficult decision that will have an impact on our employees, our investors and our stakeholders.”

The LNG export facility was planned to be powered by hydroelectricity supplied from the Hydro-Québec grid.