B.C. natural gas producers who can’t move gas to the West Coast could be supplying LNG producers on the U.S. Gulf Coast
While companies like Petronas and Shell haven’t formally abandoned their plans to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants in B.C. yet, and Nexen – owned by China’s CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE:CEO) – recently restarted the review of its Aurora LNG project in Prince Rupert, the prospects for a West Coast LNG industry appear to be growing dimmer by the day, especially now that Canadian projects have been beaten to market by Cheniere Energy Inc. (NYSE: LNG) in the U.S.
If B.C. gas ends up being exported to foreign markets, it might not be from the West Coast, but from the Gulf Coast. Cheniere, which has a three-train LNG terminal in production on the Sabine Pass River in Louisiana, and four more trains under construction, has already inked a contract with at least one natural gas producer on the Alberta side of the Montney region and is said to be actively courting producers in B.C.
“We’re very happy to get as many molecules from Canada as we can logistically supply to our two facilities at Sabine and at Corpus [Christi],” Cheniere executive vice-president and chief commercial officer Anatol Feygin recently told Bloomberg.
Pat Ward, president and CEO of Painted Pony Energy Ltd. (TSX:PONY), notes that U.S. companies are already buying natural gas from Canadian producers at $2.50 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) and selling it to Mexico for $3.50 per MMBtu.
“They’re basically buying cheap Canadian gas and selling it to the Mexicans,” said Ward, whose company is invested exclusively in the Montney of northeastern B.C.
The Montney, which straddles B.C. and Alberta, is considered by some to be the most prolific and lowest-cost shale oil and gas play in North America.
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