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Woodside Gains OK to Ship 4 Bcf/d from BC Pacific Coast Terminal

An Australian entry obtained a license Thursday to try putting Canadian supplies on the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market.

The National Energy Board (NEB) authorized Woodside Petroleum Ltd. to ship out 28.5 Tcf of gas over 25 years at a rate of up to 4 Bcf/d from a terminal proposed on the northern Pacific coast of British Columbia (BC). LNG would be exported from Grassy Point, north of Prince Rupert.

As the 12th entry in a 23-project lineup for NEB licenses to be granted one, Woodside raised the total of approved LNG export commitments for Canadian gas to 230.3 Tcf of reserves going out at a rate of 23 Bcf/d.

The 11 projects still awaiting license decisions seek to export a collective 176 Tcf of reserves in cargoes of 19.5 Bcf/d. The total 23-entry lineup would ship offshore 406 Tcf at a rate of 42.5 Bcf/d from Pacific, Atlantic and Quebec terminals.

The Woodside approval decision agreed with skeptical industry observers, in predicting "not all LNG export licenses issued by the Board will be used or used to the full allowance." The ruling said the NEB would not try to identify the projects most likely to succeed, but added that the board is confident vast shale supplies across the interconnected markets of Canada and the United States ensure domestic requirements will be satisfied.

"All of these LNG ventures are faced with a robust, but limited, global market and face numerous development and construction challenges," NEB stated. "Factors such as the size, remoteness, complexity, lack of large buyers coming forward, and the Canadian cost structure are among the issues that Canadian LNG ventures are facing."

Woodside's position in North American LNG has grown over the past year in Canada and the United States. Apache Corp. in December agreed to sell Woodside its half-stake in the Kitimat LNG export project in BC, as well as acreage in the Horn River and Liard basins; it also sold its interest in Australia's Wheatstone LNG facility (see Daily GPIDec. 15, 2014). Chevron Corp. owns the other half of the Kitimat facility. Last June, a Woodside subsidiary agreed to buy 0.85 million metric tons/year  from Cheniere Energy Inc.'s planned Corpus Christi, TX facility (see Daily GPI, June 30).

In related news, Calgary's AltaGas Ltd. has bought Douglas Channel LNG out of the financial limbo of court-supervised receivership and set a 2018 target for beginning overseas deliveries from a BC port (see related story).

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