Canada Aims for Japanese LNG Market

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Friday September 21, 2012

Canada’s natural resources minister says Japan will be a top market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from gas fields in the province of Alberta, Reuters reports.

Five LNG plants planned for Canada’s Pacific Coast will export more than 9 billion cubic feet a day when fully developed, but the projects require more customers than they have signed up so far.

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who was in Tokyo for an LNG producer and consumer conference, said Japan represents 33 percent of global LNG demand, while South Korea accounts for 15 percent.

He said Japan’s demand for LNG will only increase as it moves to reduce its dependence on nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster last year.

Oliver said there is much less opposition among the public and among the area’s aboriginal groups to LNG projects than there is to the extraction and export of crude oil from Alberta’s oil sands, which may mean the gas projects can go online faster.

“There is, in my mind without a doubt, a role for Canada to play in this marketplace. But they're not going to wait forever, and so we've to get moving," Oliver said. "Fortunately the signs are very positive about our moving, so we should be up and running before the end of the decade, but starting to export before then."

Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Corp., Toyota Tsusho Corp., and Inpex Corp. are working with Canadian parties on gas development projects.

Mitsubishi is part of a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC to develop a 2 billion cubic feet a day liquefaction plant in Kitimat, British Columbia scheduled to go online around 2020.

The Canadian government, along with leaders of Alberta and British Columbia, have been working to expand the potential for LNG development and transportation in the area.