The liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Canada on Monday projected greater demand from China over the next several years, which could provide huge business opportunities for British Columbia (BC), a province with abundant natural gas deposits in western Canada.
Steve Swaffield, acting president of BG Canada, a global gas company headquartered in Britain, said the LNG industry is excited about soaring demand from China as energy consumption in the country is shifting from coal to cleaner energy sources.
"China has some very strong aspirations in the growth of the clean energy business. And the economy in China is growing rapidly," Swaffield told a press briefing Monday.
"So the projections are the LNG could be as much as 7 or 8 percent of their overall natural gas needs and usages now and that could double over the next 10 years," he said.
According to the BC government, the province currently produces 1.2 trillion cubic feet (Tcf, 33.98 billion cubic meters) of natural gas per year. It could add another 1.9 Tcf (53.8 billion cubic meters) per year if the province's ambitious goal to develop LNG was met by 2020.
Swaffield said BG Canada is exploring the feasibility of building an LNG plant and export terminal in BC's northern city of Prince Rupert, and has entered into an agreement with North America pipeline company Spectra Energy.
He also voiced the hope that China will become a very strong partner as they carry out the project.
"The opportunity that we have in BC is so big that we need partners like in China because of the growth and the opportunity to increase the liquefied natural gas imports," said Swaffield.
"We see China as an ideal partner to do business with. And the ties between China and Canada, particularly the west coast of British Columbia, have been very strong for a long time."
A report released two months ago by the Conference Board of Canada, an influential think tank in the country, said that Canada has the potential of becoming the world's second largest LNG supplier in the near future, largely driven by demand of emerging markets.