UPDATE 1-Canadian regulator approves LNG exports from four projects
CALGARY, Alberta Dec 16 (Reuters) - Canada's National Energy Board on Monday granted liquefied natural gas export permits to four planned projects on the country's Pacific coast.
The regulator gave permits to Petronas' Pacific Northwest LNG project, along with a BG Group Plc's Prince Rupert LNG project. The WCC LNG project backed by Exxon Mobil Corp and Imperial Oil Ltd also received a 25-year license to export the fuel along with a project proposed by the privately held Woodfibre Natural Gas Ltd.
The approvals are the latest for the nascent industry, following applications from other would-be projects such as the Kitimat LNG plant planned by Chevron Corp and Apache Corp. The projects are looking to take gas from Western Canada's massive shale fields to high-paying Asian markets, though none have yet been approved by their backers.
The regulator's decision is subject to the approval of the Canadian government. Joe Oliver, Canada's natural resources minister, said in a statement the Conservative government's cabinet will now review the board approvals.
"The ... government supports energy projects that will create jobs and generate economic growth in Canada for future generations," the minister said. "Our government will only allow energy projects to proceed if they are found to be safe for Canadians after an independent, science-based environmental and regulatory review."
With the new approvals, a total of seven planned projects have been granted export licenses while three others are still under review. The board has yet to deny an application for an export permit.