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Canada Approves LNG Exports for Project Hopefuls

While liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals proposals are languishing under the measured pace of approval in the United States, Canada is approving licenses in advance for projects that don’t even have formal support from their backers yet.

Seeking to become a major global supplier of LNG, the Canadian government has approved four long-term export licenses for LNG projects on the Pacific Coast in British Columbia for the export of up to 73.38 million metric tons per year for 25 years.  

The proposed export terminals would potentially be sponsored by Exxon Mobil, British-based BG Group and Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, and licenses have been approved for the export of up to 73.38 million metric tons of LNG per year, or around 3.43 trillion cubic feet/year.

The potential projects for which licenses have been approved in advance by Canada’s National Energy Board include the Pacific NorthWest LNG, Prince Rupert LNG, WCC LNG and Woodfibre LNG terminals.

Though the export licenses have been granted, the projects themselves have not been approved.

Related Article: Canada Setting Stage for Oil Exports Beyond U.S.

The largest project, the Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal, is moving slowly towards the finish line, with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) announcing this week that the 30-day public comment period will begin on 2 April. After that, the timeframe for approval remains unclear, with a total of four public comment periods on before the agency can submit a final document to the government.

In February, the environmental impact statement was published, predicting that the project’s effects on air quality would not be significant, while it would increase the province’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than 8%.

Canada has already approved a total of seven LNG export facilities—all of them new construction projects centered on the Pacific Coast. They will all require new pipeline infrastructure as well.

According to Alberta Oil Magazine, “Canadians, and the Canadian regulatory authorities governing energy development, are used to the idea of exporting resources. Whether or not public opinion has changed to expect further domestic processing does not alter the fact that our resources will eventually be shipped to be consumed elsewhere.”

By James Burgess

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