Shell-Led Group Delays Decision on Canada Gas Export Plan

  • LNG Canada cites industry challenges, capital constraints
  • Project says it can’t confirm when it plans final decision

Royal Dutch Shell Plc and its partners delayed for the second time this year a final investment decision on a terminal to export liquefied natural gas from Canada’s Pacific Coast to Asian markets.

LNG Canada, which is also backed by Mitsubishi Corp., PetroChina Co. and Korea Gas Corp., cited "global industry challenges, including capital constraints" in announcing the postponement in a statement on Monday.

"Participants have determined they need more time prior to taking a final investment decision," the joint venture said. "At this time, we cannot confirm when this decision will be made."

A glut of LNG is emerging globally as ventures start up in Australia and the U.S. Analysts have cast doubt on Canada’s ability to deliver LNG exports this decade, even as the nation’s gas producers yearn for a new outlet because U.S. output increasingly pushes them out of their traditional market. A global oil market downturn is also restricting companies’ ability to spend on megaprojects.

The spread between the selling price for LNG in Asia and the gas price in Canada -- a margin that helps measure profit -- has been cut in half from about $12 per million British thermal units in 2014, LNG Canada Chief Executive Officer Andy Calitz told reporters on a conference call Monday. Some recovery is required for the project to be viable, he said.

‘In Turmoil’

The project hasn’t been canceled. It has all the necessary approvals from regulators in Canada and doesn’t require any more work in the country, he said. Representatives from all four partners are currently in Canada for meetings over the next couple days.

“The whole global LNG industry is in turmoil,” Calitz said, adding that Western Canada still has advantages including its proximity to customers in Asia. “I’m confident that the Japanese market remains available to LNG Canada.”

The group had previously postponed the decision in February, when it said it would rule on whether to proceed with construction by the end of 2016.

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