Malaysia's state oil-and-gas company Petroliam Nasional Bhd. is looking for partners to join its proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Canada, a senior company executive said Monday.
Petronas owns 80% of the LNG joint venture that plans to build an export terminal on the British Columbia coast. Progress Energy Inc. (PGN) owns the remaining 20%.
"We are talking to interested parties to participate," Anuar Ahmad, executive vice-president for gas and power at Petronas, told a news conference.
Petronas is among a growing number of companies planning to export North American shale gas to energy-hungry Asia. Petronas is building its own plant to accept imports of LNG required to meet domestic demand.
The national Malaysian oil company acquired a 50% working interest in Progress Energy's gas fields in the foothills of northeast British Columbia for CDN$1.07 billion last year. The two companies have yet to make a final decision on the proposed export facility that will be fed by the gas fields.
"It's still a long way away; probably at the end of 2014," Mr. Ahmad said referring to the final investment decision on the LNG project.
The shale-gas boom in North America has pushed prices in the U.S. to their lowest in years while a surge in imports from Japan after the shutdown of its nuclear power plants has sent LNG prices skyrocketing in Asia. A growing number of companies are hoping to cash in on the arbitrage, by selling North American gas to consumers in Asia.
Only a handful of projects have been proposed and most have yet to get all regulatory approvals, but the pace could pick up as the majors jump in.
Oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) signaled last week it is studying the possibility of exporting natural gas from the U.S. Gulf Coast and Canada. The growing number of projects could face hurdles in getting government approval in the future as exports of natural gas from the U.S. is likely to increase prices for domestic consumers.
Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company and the largest U.S. natural-gas producer, recently said it is analyzing exports from domestically produced natural gas.
--Gurdeep Singh contributed to this article
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