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Vancouver upstart wades into B.C.’s crowded LNG race

A worker uses a small boat to move logs on the Douglas Channel at dusk in Kitimat, B.C., in this Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 photo.

Darryl Dyck/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The competition is heating up to export B.C. liquefied natural gas as a new proponent tries to find a niche in an increasingly crowded field.

Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG Corp. hopes to file an LNG export licence application to the National Energy Board within eight weeks, Steelhead chief executive officer Nigel Kuzemko said in an interview Tuesday.

If the upstart does forge ahead with its plans, it will become the 14th entrant in the race to export LNG from Canada's West Coast to energy-thirsty Asian customers. "We're on the map, and we'll be here for a while," Mr. Kuzemko said.

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Steelhead LNG is getting a lift with the new appointment of former B.C. Attorney General Geoff Plant to the company's board of directors, said Mr. Kuzemko, a British-born geophysicist who moved to Vancouver last summer.

Calgary-based private equity firm Kern Partners will be the lead investor in Steelhead LNG.

Mr. Kuzemko said he will be releasing details in the months ahead, and a final investment decision is planned with two years.

So far, 13 B.C. LNG projects have touted their export plans. Another two are proposing to pipe Western Canadian natural gas to planned Oregon terminals for export – Jordan Cove LNG LP and Oregon LNG Marketing Co. LLC.

Smaller B.C. proposals in the works include Woodfibre LNG Export near Squamish and the Douglas Channel Energy Partnership at Kitimat. Documents filed last month in B.C. Supreme Court show that the Douglas Channel proposal could be split in two – "Project 1" might involve AltaGas Ltd. and Exmar NV making royalty payments to Tatham Group, while "Project 2" would be overseen by the Haisla First Nation and Golar LNG Ltd.

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About the Author

Brent Jang is a business reporter in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. He joined the Globe in 1995. His former positions include transportation reporter in Toronto, energy correspondent in Calgary and Western columnist for Report on Business. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The Gateway student newspaper. Mr. More

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