LNG Canada Development Inc., a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell plc to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Kitimat, British Columbia (BC), was granted a long-term export license by Canada’s Ministry of Natural Resources.

Besides Shell, the joint venture includes Korea Gas Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and PetroChina Internationals. Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) awarded an export permit to the project earlier in February (see Daily GPI, Feb. 6), and this was approved Monday by the government of Premier Stephen Harper. The project still must receive numerous environmental and other approvals. A final investment decision on the project is expected mid-decade, a Shell spokesman told NGI.

“The Harper government is aggressively working to open new markets for Canadian natural resources in the fastest-growing region of the world,” said Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver. “Today’s announcement is the latest milestone in our efforts to support Canadian jobs and generate critical revenue that funds social programs such as health and education.”

Currently, 100% of Canada’s natural gas exports are to the United States. However, global energy demand is expected to increase by 35% between 2010 and 2035, and Canada is well poised to support that demand, the ministry said. “The approval of the license demonstrates the momentum of Canada’s burgeoning liquefied natural gas industry and the efforts underway to access world markets.”

The LNG Canada license is the third such long-term license issued since 2011 (see Daily GPI, April 13, 2012; Oct. 17, 2011). The 25-year license allows for up to 24 million tonnes of LNG to be exported per year, making it the largest license awarded to date. If this project and the four other proposed LNG projects for BC go forward, they could generate more than $1 trillion in economic activity over the next 30 years.

“We…recognize this important milestone is just one of the major regulatory approvals that will be required to make the project a reality, including a comprehensive environmental assessment,” said Anders Ekvall, Shell vice president of LNG Americas. “We will continue to work closely with First Nations, local communities and the federal and provincial governments to meet social and environmental expectations.”

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