Canada’s top energy minister is confident that his country can hold its own in the world’s liquified natural gas (LNG) market. There’s plenty of demand for LNG these days, especially in Asia, where Japan is struggling to meet its energy needs after shutting down its nuclear reactors after the Fukushima disaster, where South Korea is also weaning itself off of nuclear power, and where China and India are eagerly looking abroad for more ways to fuel development. Europe is also keen for new sources of LNG to break the hold of Russia’s Gazprom.
The demand is there, and so is the supply. Australia is readying LNG export terminals, and the US is slowly doling out permits to its own facilities to unleash our shale gas glut on the world. Russia, owner of the world’s largest gas reserves, is slowly coming to the realization that it, too, will need to start exporting LNG. And everyone is playing catch-up to Qatar, the reigning king of LNG exports.
The pieces are in place, but the trade is still in its early days. It’s the wild west right now for LNG, and Canada is sending a message to potential customers: there’s a new sheriff in town. The WSJ reports:
Canada has 200 years of gas supply, [Canada's energy minister] said, stressing that one of the country’s advantages is its dependability as it positions itself to become a long-term energy source.
“We want to be part of a diversified energy mix,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in South Korea. “When a country wants to diversify, it makes sense to diversify to a country that’s reliable.”
Canadian LNG exports still face a tall hurdle, one familiar to the Obama administration: pipelines that would transport gas to export terminals along Canada’s Pacific coast will have to travel through British Columbia, the country’s greenest-minded province. Building out pipeline infrastructure will be politically difficult, and also extremely expensive.
Still, Canada, like the United States, has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about its energy future. North America is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the world of energy exports.
[LNG carrier image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]