10/18/2013 01:37 EDT | Updated 12/18/2013 05:12 EST

Rich Coleman LNG Trip: B.C. Minister Says Asian Investments Coming

BEIJING, China - B.C.'s Minister of Natural Gas Development, Rich Coleman, believes firm announcements about offshore investment in the province's fledgling liquefied natural gas industry are scant weeks away.

Speaking from Beijing at the mid-point of a three-country trade mission to Asia, Coleman says Chinese and Korean companies are bullish on B.C.'s LNG industry and he's expecting a similar reaction when he meets with business leaders in Malaysia.

The minister says he has wrapped up high-level meetings with three major Chinese companies and several smaller firms, and each indicates it plans to aggressively pursue investments.

According to Coleman, major Chinese and Korean companies could make final investment decisions by the third quarter of 2014, but he expects each would like to move earlier, if possible.

He points to what he says are two or three sensitive deals that should be inked by the end of this month or early November, leading to significant business arrangements that would clear the way for environmental assessments and permitting.

The province estimates more than 10 LNG export proposals are in play in this province and if five large LNG plants are built, B.C. could see the creation of as many as 100,000 jobs and an infusion of $1-trillion into government coffers by 2046.

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