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Canada's NEB OKs More LNG Exports, Not Predicting Winners

The total volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) available under Canadian export licenses has jumped to 36 Bcf/d as a result of the latest approvals granted by the National Energy Board (NEB).

Steelhead LNG Inc. received five 25-year licenses to ship out a combined 5 Bcf/d from a proposed network of five floating terminals to be moored at co-operating native villages on Vancouver Island.

The decision increases to 22 the number of long-term gas export permits that the NEB has awarded to LNG plans, chiefly on the Pacific Coast of British Columbia. None of the projects has advanced to construction. All five of the Steelhead approvals noted that export licenses are no guarantee of success for terminal proposals.

"In aggregate, the LNG export license applications submitted to the board to date represent a significant volume," NEB said. "However, all of these LNG ventures are competing for a limited global market and face numerous development and construction challenges. The board will not predict which licenses will be used or used to the full allowance."

Although Vancouver-based Steelhead has cleared a community affairs hurdle by securing co-operation agreements with native communities, its LNG plan relies on a construction program that is liable to generate an environmental furor.

The Steelhead scheme includes a high-volume subsea gas pipeline from the BC mainland to Vancouver Island via a roundabout route through northern Washington State. The Canadian firm has recruited Williams to work on the pipeline proposal, which is an enlarged version of a smaller one that was discarded 11 years ago after BC utilities authorities rejected plans for a gas-fired power plant on the island.

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