A newly formed B.C. company that wants to export liquefied natural gas from Prince Rupert is the 19th entrant in the crowded field of LNG proposals on Canada's West Coast.
Vancouver-based NewTimes Energy Ltd. filed an application Wednesday to the National Energy Board, seeking a 25-year licence to export 12 million tonnes of LNG annually.
Industry experts say there is only room for four B.C. LNG projects at most, and the economics of ventures big and small have been hurt by falling prices for LNG in Asia.
Undeterred by the hurdles ahead, NewTimes said its plans are promising because the project will rely on floating LNG vessels, which have lower capital costs than building massive terminals on land.
NewTimes is registered in Vancouver, but it will be counting on investors in China and the United States to help bring the venture to fruition.
"The proposed project will be comprised of a natural gas liquefaction plant and associated port and infrastructure facilities," NewTimes said in its application to the NEB.
The upstart firm said it expects to form partnerships or joint ventures as it seeks to start shipping LNG from "a site near the Port of Prince Rupert" to Asia in 2019.
"Since international gas prices, especially North Asia, are higher than those in North America, there are increased business opportunities for producers and market participants to develop LNG export projects," according to the filing by NewTimes. "The applicant will tailor the project to employ local expertise, the most modern technology and marketing expertise."
NewTimes said it is in talks to reach deals with potential investors, natural gas suppliers, pipeline operators and Asian LNG customers. "As such, the particular business models have yet to be finalized," the company cautioned.
There are now 19 B.C. LNG projects vying to export to Asia. The NEB has approved export licences for 10 B.C. LNG proposals, including the latest one in January for a Grassy Point project, owned by a unit of Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd.