| VANCOUVER, July 8
VANCOUVER, July 8 A closely held Canadian
company has waded into British Columbia's crowded liquefied
natural gas (LNG) export fray with a plan to build a $30 billion
terminal on Vancouver Island.
Steelhead LNG said on Tuesday it had applied to Canadian
regulators for permission to export up to 30 million tonnes of
LNG a year for 25 years, joining a list of fourteen companies
vying to build projects in the Pacific Coast province.
The National Energy Board has already approved export
licenses for nine projects in British Columbia. With Steelhead,
it has five more under review, as global and domestic companies
scramble to build the facilities needed to ship cheap Canadian
gas to energy-hungry Asian markets.
"It is a competitive market. If you look at where we are,
we're certainly not the first to arrive," said Steelhead Chief
Executive Officer Nigel Kuzemko. "But we're an independent,
Canadian business, and as such we don't have any of the hang-ups
some of the super majors might have."
Many of the front-runners in the race to develop Canada's
LNG industry are majors like Royal Dutch Shell Plc and
Chevron Corp, who are concurrently developing rival
projects in other parts of the world.
Steelhead, which is focused on one project, is backed by
KERN Partners, a Calgary-based private equity firm with C$1.1
billion ($1.03 billion) under management that looks for
long-term investment opportunities in Canada's energy sector.
Steelhead's export terminal, which would be designed to
produce 24 million tonnes of LNG a year, would be built in
Anacla, a remote village about 200 kms (125 miles) northwest of
Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Steelhead is working closely with the local Aboriginal
community to develop the project, which will also require the
construction of a lengthy pipeline to carry the gas from fields
in northern British Columbia and Alberta.
The Vancouver-based company does not own gas properties but
plans to operate the LNG plant on a type of tolling model -
working with producers to secure gas, converting it for them
into LNG and then shipping it to final customers.
"We'll look to export gas on a flexible basis from
independent companies," said Kuzemko. "We are very relaxed in
the type of pricing that is on LNG contracts, because as long as
the producers are happy to take that risk, so are we."
Kuzemko told Reuters the company is fully financed at the
moment, but will eventually look for partners as the project
moves through the development process.
With a long permitting process ahead, the best-case scenario
is for Steelhead to see its first LNG shipments in 2022.
($1 = 1.0677 Canadian dollars)
(Additional reporting by Scott Haggett in Calgary; Editing by