British Columbia Premier Christy Clark was to embark Friday on her fifth overseas trade mission to court Asian customers for liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal projects on her province’s Pacific Coast.

As Clark and British Columbia (BC) Natural Gas Development Minister Rich Coleman packed their bags for a week of meetings in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, signs of continued life showed in the project lineup.

A formal ownership agreement was concluded for LNG Canada, which holds a National Energy Board (NEB) export license to fill tankers with up to 2.3 Bcf/d.

In the final deal, Shell Canada raised its ownership of LNG Canada Development Inc. by 10% to 50%. PetroChina kept 20%. KOGAS and Mitsubishi Corp. both gave up 5% to emerge with 15% each.

Pacific NorthWest LNG — led by the Canadian arm of Malaysian state energy conglomerate Petroliam Nasional Berhad, Progress Energy — landed a customer for part of its planned output under its NEB export license for up to 2.7 Bcf/d (see Daily GPI, April 29). China Petrochemical Corp. (Sinopec) committed to take a 15% stake in the project and matching portion of the terminal’s intended output for 20 years. Sinopec affiliates also agreed to add the plant’s output to their supply portfolios.

In announcing the Asian trade mission, Clark acknowledged that all the BC projects still need to firm up customers, supply pipeline plans and construction schedules, but said “momentum is clearly on our side.”

The premier described the trip overseas as meant to seal deals that spell rapid development for northern BC shale gas deposits that all the terminal projects declare intentions to tap for their LNG supplies: “To take the last crucial steps towards final investment decisions, we’re meeting with key Asian investors and governments.”

LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz told a news conference that while a decision by Shell to advance to the construction stage remains more than a year away, Clark is right to rate the plan as a serious project. In announcing the final joint venture structure, he said, “All four of the partners in this project had the opportunity…if they did not want to participate in the project, to walk away from it. They all very clearly, very demonstrably, very specifically stayed with the project.”