Kitimat may not be the only British Columbia (BC) city to benefit from potential liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The port city of Prince Rupert, on the province’s north coast, is being eyed by UK-based BG Group plc for a natural gas export hub as well, officials confirmed Thursday.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority has been in talks with BG officials for a few months for a project that could rival several proposals in development for Kitimat, which is on the province’s west coast. “We’ve entered into an agreement with the Prince Rupert Port Authority…to consider the feasibility of that development in that area,” said BG spokesman David Byford. He said talks had been ongoing with BG for several months.

Port Authority spokesman Michael Gurney said officials were interested in pursuing a project with BG. The discussions with BG are “preliminary,” but “the prospect of an LNG facility fits very neatly into the development plan at Ridley Island.”

Prince Rupert is about 480 miles north of Vancouver, BC, and just north of the mouth of the Skeena River. Ridley Island is zoned for industrial port development; liquid bulk terminals were included in the area’s land-use management plan issued last year, Gurney said.

BG CEO Frank Chapman, who spoke with investors Thursday to discuss the company’s 2011 and 4Q2011 performance, said the “outlook for global gas and LNG demand is strong. BG Group is well set to capitalize on these opportunities and is making good progress with delivering its plans.”

BG, he acknowledged, is developing plans to export LNG from the United States and was considering an opportunity to ship gas from Canada. “We are moving into LNG liquids” in the United States, he said. “Canada is a new project that we are working on.”

BG has inked agreements to purchase 5.5 million metric tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG from the proposed Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC facility on the Gulf Coast (see Daily GPI, Jan. 27). The project at the existing Sabine Pass LNG regasification terminal is to include four liquefaction trains capable of producing up to 18 mtpa (see Daily GPI, Jan. 31).

Chapman said “not only is our LNG supply set to exceed our 2015 target of 20 mtpa but we believe that a BG Group supply portfolio of 30 mtpa by 2020 is now within reach. The near-term picture is also very positive, and we are raising our LNG profit guidance for 2012 by over 30% to between $2.6-2.8 billion. Our LNG business is set fair with the prospect of excellent profit momentum for many years.”

BG reported a $2.6 billion profit from LNG operations in 2011, which was above a $2.4 billion October forecast. LNG shipments to Asia were up last year following the nuclear disaster in Japan, which is the largest LNG importer in the world.

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