The massive Shell-led Sakhalin II oil and gas development project offshore Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East is likely to be delivering liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the U.S. West Coast before the decade is over, according to Steve McVeigh, CEO of the Sakhalin Energy Investment Co.

According to newswire reports, McVeigh told reporters in London Tuesday that while Japan and South Korea remained the primary target markets for Sakhalin LNG, the consortium was increasingly hoping to supply fuel to the United States where interest in LNG has been growing rapidly.

Reserves at Sakhalin II are about 1 billion barrels of oil and over 500 billion cubic meters (17.7 Tcf) of natural gas, and current oil production stands at about 70,000 b/d.

“Several companies are planning to build LNG receiving terminals on the U.S. West Coast. We are talking with all of them this particular moment in time,” McVeigh said, according to Reuters. “It could happen next year. It all depends on how rapidly the terminals proceed with their plans; they are still in an early stage.”

Sakhalin II earlier this year beat out its rival Sakhalin I, led by Exxon Mobil Corp., by signing long-term LNG supply agreements for about 3.8 million tonnes/year starting in 2007 with three Japanese companies. The contracts allowed it to proceed with investment in what is expected to be one of the world’s largest gas liquefaction plants. The plant will have an annual capacity of 9.6 million tonnes/year.

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