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May 13 (Bloomberg) -- British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong said he is “cautiously optimistic” there will be a decision on a liquefied natural gas investment in the province worth about C$10 billion ($9.2 billion) by the end of 2014.

“They’re moving toward a final investment decision,” de Jong said today at the Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit in Toronto. “You’ve got Shell, Petronas all taking steps. Who goes first, we’ll see.”

British Columbia, Canada’s third-most-populous province, is racing to encourage some of the world’s largest energy companies to establish an LNG export industry to serve Asian markets. The province, facing competition from competing proposed projects on the U.S. Gulf Coast, plans to erase its long-term debt with tax revenues from the LNG sector, which it predicts may add C$1 trillion to the economy by 2046.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., BG Group and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd., known as Petronas, have proposed projects along Canada’s Pacific Coast to liquefy gas produced from shale formations in northern B.C. and Alberta for shipment by tanker.

Of the 13 proposed LNG developments in B.C., nine have approved export licenses from the National Energy Board, Canada’s top regulator of international and inter-provincial oil, gas and electricity projects.

British Columbia, which predicts LNG activity could add as much as C$1 trillion of gross domestic product by 2046, has set a goal of having three LNG projects in operation by 2020.

The province has proposed to tax LNG projects at an initial rate of 1.5 percent, a rate that will rise to as much as 7 percent after companies recover the costs of building the shipping terminals, de Jong said in February.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at; Katia Dmitrieva in Toronto at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at Jacqueline Thorpe, David Scanlan

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