* LNG plant could be complete by 2017
* Partners expect feasibility studies complete in 2014
* One of several LNG projects on Canada's Pacific Coast
CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 29 Idemitsu Kosan Co
, Japan's No. 3 oil refiner, said on Tuesday it will
form a partnership with Canada's AltaGas Ltd to export
liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas to Asia,
starting as early as 2017.
Idemitsu and AltaGas will have equal stakes in the
partnership, Idemitsu said in a statement. The companies will
start feasibility studies for the construction and development
of a gas liquefaction facility in Canada and they expect them to
be completed by 2014.
The project is the latest of several LNG-export plants
planned for Canada's Pacific Coast. They will be fed by natural
gas from British Columbia's massive shale-gas fields.
"We're a company that has a lot of experience in working
with producers in the (region)" said Debbie Stein, AltaGas's
chief financial officer. "We'll be looking to work with
producers to provide gas supply" for the plant.
Backers of rival projects include Royal Dutch Shell Plc
, Malaysia's Petronas, BG Group Plc and
Chevron Corp among others. The number of projects in the
works makes British Columbia a rival to the U.S. Gulf Coast,
where nine projects have been announced and one, Cheniere Energy
Inc's Sabine Pass project, is already under
Idemitsu and AltaGas said in a release that if they decide
to proceed, exports to the Japanese market could begin by 2017.
Idemitsu has been focusing on overseas opportunities to make
up for a gradual fall in oil demand as its domestic market
While AltaGas, a mid-sized energy-infrastructure company,
does not have gas reserves to feed the project, it does have an
existing pipeline that takes gas from northeastern British
Columbia to Kitimat and Prince Rupert, the two ports where most
Canadian LNG facilities are expect to be built.
AltaGas shares were up 38 Canadian cents at C$35.24 late on
Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while Idemitsu
rose 160 Japanese yen to 7,940 yen in Tokyo.