CALGARY - A liquefied natural gas terminal being built at a cove north of Vancouver - financed by a Houston private-equity firm - is allowing Canada to target Asia's $150 billion LNG market.
It is scheduled to begin shipping the fuel across the Pacific Ocean in mid-2015, eight months before the first continental U.S. plant is slated to start. Canada's government has approved twice as much LNG export capacity as its southerly neighbor, evincing a friendlier attitude toward selling domestic gas to the highest bidder and positioning the nation as the go-to source of gas in North America for overseas buyers.
Energy giants from ExxonMobil to Malaysia's Petroliam Nasional Bhd are considering terminal projects in western Canada to supply Asian utilities and factories that are paying more than four times the price of U.S. markets. Chevron said it's focusing all of its North American LNG efforts north of the U.S.
"The smart money is going to Canada," said Michelle Foss of the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas. "They don't have any objections to exporting gas and it's closer to Asia, which cuts down on shipping costs."
"In the long term, Canada ... is probably more positively seen than the U.S. projects," said Asish Mohanty, senior LNG analyst at Wood Mackenzie.