As Alberta struggles to get oil to new markets, B.C. builds LNG momentum quickly – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – October 8, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

While historic energy powerhouse Alberta is struggling to get its resources to new markets, British Columbia is wasting no time getting its liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry off the ground.

Rich Coleman, head of a new super ministry to promote natural gas development in the province, said Monday the government of Liberal Christy Clark is on the verge of finalizing fiscal terms for LNG operators, will follow up with legislation early in the New Year to ensure long-term fiscal stability and anticipates the first major investment decisions to build LNG projects on the northern Coast in the third to fourth quarter of 2014.

“We are competing with other jurisdictions for customers and investment,” the minister said in explaining to reporters the urgency to launch the sector.

He was on his way to South Korea, China and Malaysia to promote the new industry, having just arrived back from meetings in Washington, D.C., with Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp., which are “very interested” in LNG in B.C.

“We are going to be competitive,” he pledged. “We are open for business. We are getting our foundation in place with negotiations … with companies that we know are building a competitive stable fiscal regime. We are going to have efficient regulations. We will be strong in our environmental standards. And we will pursue the final investment decisions that will put us in a position to have long-term financial stability for B.C.”

Also on Monday, in a reminder about the competitiveness of the global LNG game, Exxon Mobil, BP PLC, ConocoPhillips and TransCanada Corp. announced they picked the Kenai Peninsula as the lead site for their Alaska LNG project, which would be underpinned by Alaska’s North Slope reserves.

Still, there is a lot of LNG momentum in the Western province, whose future as an energy producer and exporter seemed in doubt a few months ago, when the opposition NDP was expected to form the government. Clark defied opinion polls and was re-elected in May with a pro-development mandate.

It contrasts to Alberta’s slow and controversial grind to secure new markets for its oil, a lot of it due to opposition to oil pipelines in B.C. and in the U.S. Alberta is also looking at what to do with its massive natural gas deposits, which are being pushed out of markets by shale gas discoveries in B.C. and in the U.S. B.C.’s LNG plants are not expected at this point to use Alberta gas.

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