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Example of a LNG floating storage unit

A Texas-based company is the latest entrant to seek a 25-year licence to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from British Columbia.

Orca LNG Ltd., the Canadian affiliate of an energy firm based in Cypress, Tex., wants to build an LNG export terminal near Prince Rupert in northwestern British Columbia.

Orca filed its application Thursday to the National Energy Board, requesting permission to export up to 24 million tonnes a year of LNG – capacity that would rank it among the largest players in the B.C. LNG race.

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"The applicant proposes to develop a natural gas liquefaction terminal comprised of natural gas liquefaction facilities, LNG storage facilities, marine loading facilities and all ancillary facilities," Orca said in its submission. "The project is planned to consist of six floating liquefaction storage and offloading vessels."

Orca hopes to start exporting in 2019, initially using one vessel. The filing said talks have begun to enlist partners, but confidentiality clauses prevent public disclosure of further details. No decisions have been made yet on acquiring natural gas, and options are being weighed on transporting gas supplies by pipeline.

Last week, a Haisla-owned project called Cedar LNG Export Development Inc. filed three applications for LNG export licences.

With the emergence of Cedar LNG and Orca LNG, there are now 17 B.C. LNG projects proposed so far, though industry experts say only four at most will come to fruition. Two LNG export terminals are also envisaged for Oregon.

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