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Australia's Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. Launches LNG Export Plan in Nova Scotia

An Australian liquefied natural gas (LNG) specialty firm is jumping north to launch an export plan in Nova Scotia after making a start on expanding in North America with a Louisiana terminal project. Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd. (LNGL) of West Perth on Monday announced an agreement to buy a mothballed, partially built Canadian import terminal site on Cape Breton Island for US$11 million from Anadarko Petroleum Corp.

The deal is a takeover of Anadarko's Bear Head LNG Corp., which stopped construction of the import project near Port Hawkesbury on Cape Breton's southwestern tip nine years ago amid uncertainties over gas supplies and requirements (see Daily GPI, Feb. 13, 2007).

In a statement to stock exchanges Monday morning, the Australian company said the Canadian deal "significantly expanded" its role in the proliferating roster of North American LNG export schemes.

LNGL's launching pad on the continent is 100% ownership of Magnolia LNG LLC in Louisiana (see Daily GPI, March 7). The U.S. subsidiary is advancing plans for a Lake Charles export terminal capable of loading up tankers with eight million tonnes per year of LNG, or about 1.2 Bcf/d.

The Australians aim to make a smaller start in Canada. Initial capacity will be four million tonnes per year of LNG, or 600 MMcf/d, the West Perth firm said.

An LNGL briefing for investors and analysts added that the Nova Scotia plant will be designed to be economically viable operating at a rate as low as two million tonnes per year or 300 MMcf/d.

The move into Canada will not affect the U.S. operation, the Australian company added. Magnolia LNG remains on schedule, developing on its budget of US$2.2 billion, LNGL reported.

Ambitious targets were set for the Canadian project, including regulatory approvals by mid-2015, a final commercial decision to proceed into construction in 2016 and commencement of export deliveries in 2019. Lessons learned from the Magnolia project will help guide the Nova Scotia development, the Australian firm said. LNGL did not announce a construction budget or gas supply contracts for the Nova Scotia project. The firm recited an array of potential sources ranging from Canadian offshore production to potential imports of Marcellus output from the U.S.

Reversal of the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which currently carries Canadian gas into the U.S., to put Marcellus output onto the global LNG market has also been raised as a possibility by two other eastern export terminal proposals: Pieridae Energy’s Goldboro LNG proposal on the Nova Scotia coast near Halifax, and an emerging plan by Spanish energy conglomerate Repsol for conversion of its Canaport import terminal next to Irving Oil's New Brunswick refinery at St. John (see Daily GPIJan. 2, 2014Nov. 8, 2013).

The Australian company indicated that its appetite for expansion into North America does not stop at the two projects lined up to date. In announcing the Nova Scotia deal, LNGL Managing Director Maurice Brand said. "This is a significant transaction for LNG Ltd. and is consistent with our strategic plan to selectively secure sites that meet our criteria and develop a strong North American presence."

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