VICTORIA - Plans by Malaysian national oil company Petronas to export liquefied natural gas from northern British Columbia to Asia moved forward Friday with the company submitting an export application with Canada's National Energy Board.
Pacific NorthWest LNG, backed by a 90-per-cent interest by Petronas, said in a statement the company wants to export up to 19.68 million tonnes of LNG per year for 25 years from a proposed export facility at Port Edward, B.C., near Prince Rupert.
Pacific NorthWest president Greg Kist said in the statement the proposed facility represents an investment of $9 billion to $11 billion and will create up to 3,500 direct jobs during construction and create between 200 and 300 full-time jobs.
He said the company will not make its final investment decision until next year, but if it goes ahead Pacific NorthWest plans to start exporting LNG by 2019.
"While we continue our work to reach a final investment decision in late 2014, we believe that our project has all of the key components of a successful, world-class LNG development," said Kist in a statement.
The NEB has already issued three LNG export permits for other B.C. proposals and is reviewing two others, not including the recent Pacific NorthWest LNG application.
The three NEB export permits include a 20-year export licence approved in February 2012 for the Kitimat-area Douglas Channel Energy project. A 20-year licence was granted in October 2011 to Kitimat LNG, and LNG Canada received an export licence in February 2013.
Some of the companies involved in the three proposals with approved export permits include Shell, Chevron and Apache.
The NEB is also reviewing LNG export-permit applications from a British Gas proposal near Prince Rupert and an Imperial Oil and Exxon/Mobil proposal.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said LNG developments have the potential to transform the province's economy, producing revenues that could ultimately help wipe out the province's debt, pegged at about $62 billion.
She said LNG developments, which include extracting natural gas from northeastern B.C. and building pipelines to the province's northwest coast where the gas will be frozen and loaded onto tankers bound for Asia, represents an economic opportunity worth an estimated $1 trillion and the potential to create 100,000 jobs.
"By increasing the demand and reach of our natural-gas sector, we will create jobs, strengthen our economy and put British Columbia on a prosperous path to a debt-free future," said Clark in a statement.
B.C.'s desired LNG windfall is forecast to top up Clark's proposed Prosperity Fund, which she said could raise $100 billion over 30 years.
Clark's jobs plan has forecast one pipeline and LNG terminal in operation by 2015 and three others up and running by 2020.
The NEB is an independent federal regulator of Canada's energy, and its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest.
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