Petronas and Progress Energy Resources Corp. said Tuesday that a detailed feasibility study for a liquefied natural gas export facility on Lelu Island is complete and the project is moving into the next phase.

The companies said work is started on the pre front-end engineering design phase in an effort to further understand construction timelines, costs and labour force requirements.

The advancement of the project near Prince Rupert, B.C., comes as Petronas, a Malaysian state-owned oil company, continues its efforts to buy Progress in a deal valued at $6 billion.

An initial attempted was rejected by the federal government under the Investment Canada Act, however Petronas has since made changes and resubmitted its proposal.

The LNG export project will include two liquefaction plants when first constructed with the ability to add a third in the future. It is designed to handle about 3.8 million tonnes annually per plant.

However, the companies said if Petronas is successful in its takeover of Progress, the throughput of natural gas at the terminal is expected to increase by approximately 60 per cent to six million tonnes per annum per plant.