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LNG Canada Seeking Export License Extension

A top contender to make the delayed launch of Canadian liquefied natural gas (LNG) overseas exports is seeking permission to keep on trying for another five years.

LNG Canada -- sponsored by Shell Canada, Kogas, Petrochina and Mitsubishi Corp. -- is asking for an extension of its export license deadline for starting shipments until 2027 from 2022.

“The market for LNG has experienced significant changes” since the project obtained a 40-year permit for tanker sales of 52.7 Tcf at a rate of 3.7 Bcf/d, the group says in its request for extra time to the National Energy Board (NEB).

“Global macroeconomic factors have influenced a significant increase in natural gas production capacity that has outpaced demand growth in major and emerging LNG import markets. These factors have resulted in persistently low natural gas prices and increased competition among global LNG export projects.”

A final investment decision to build a mammoth terminal on British Columbia’s northern Pacific Coast at Kitimat is still in the cards but has been postponed too long to meet the 2022 delivery deadline in a sunset clause of the current export license, the request says.

“LNG Canada has continued to progress development of the project,” with offices in Calgary, Kitimat and Vancouver working on designs, regulatory approvals, commercial arrangements and site preparation.

A cost-cutting auction, now under way, of engineering, procurement and construction contracts will make the project internationally competitive but likely delay beginning the five-year job of building the terminal until mid-2018, predicts LNG Canada. “Exports might at the earliest commence in summer 2023, though potentially later.”

If built, the jumbo LNG Canada terminal would be filled by a mammoth new supply line from northern BC shale deposits: the Coastal Gas Link project proposed by TransCanada Corp. for a 48-inch diameter pipe capable of delivering 4 Bcf/d.

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