By Kather­ine Blunt

Shell ap­proves mas­sive LNG project

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - FUEL FIX - kather­ine.blunt@ chron.com twit­ter.com/ kather­ineblunt

Royal Dutch Shell said it would move for­ward with its in­vest­ment in LNG Canada, a liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas ex­port ter­mi­nal in north­ern Bri­tish Columbia slated to serve grow­ing de­mand in Asia.

The project, a joint ven­ture with Malaysia's Petronas, China's Petrochina, South Korea's Ko­gas and Tokyo-based Mit­subishi Corp., is the first in Canada to reach a fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion at a time when the in­dus­try is grow­ing rapidly along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start im­me­di­ately.

The project will liq­uefy and ex­port nat­u­ral gas from Bri­tish Columbia, which has sub­stan­tial shale re­serves. Shell said in a state­ment that the ter­mi­nal's prox­im­ity to north­ern Asia will al­low it to com­pete with com­pa­nies ship­ping LNG to Asia from the Gulf of Mex­ico via the Panama Canal.

China, South Korea, In­dia and other Asian na­tions are fu­el­ing de­mand for LNG as they work to re­duce air pol­lu­tion by shift­ing from coal to cleaner-burn­ing nat­u­ral gas.

“Sup­ply­ing nat­u­ral gas over the com­ing decades will be crit­i­cal as the world tran­si­tions to a lower car­bon en­ergy sys­tem,” Shell CEO Ben van Beur­den said in a state­ment.

The project is one of the largest in years to re­ceive a green light from in­vestors. Re­search firm Wood Mackenzie pegged ini­tial costs at about $18 bil­lion, ex­clud­ing the cost of a pipeline to feed the fa­cil­ity.

“It seems that megapro­jects are back,” said Dulles Wang, the firm's di­rec­tor of North Amer­ica gas.

Shell is the largest in­vestor in the project with a 40 per­cent stake. Petronas, Malaysia's state-owned oil and gas com­pany, holds a 25 per­cent stake.

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