UPDATE 2-Imperial Oil eyes LNG sites in Canada

Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:44pm EDT
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* Company looking at potential LNG plant sites

* Q1 earning $0.94/share vs C$1.19 year earlier

* Says start-up of first phase of Kearl oil sands project imminent

* Shares rise 0.9 pct

CALGARY, Alberta, April 25 (Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd , Canada's No. 2 oil producer and refiner, is looking at sites for a potential liquefied natural gas export plant on British Columbia's Pacific coast, though the company is far from ready to decide if it will build the facility.

Imperial, which on Thursday reported a 21 percent fall in first-quarter profit due to lower crude prices and increased refinery maintenance, has put in what the company termed "an expression of interest" for a site at Grassy Point, about 30 kilometers (19 miles), north of Prince Rupert, B.C. It is one of a number of sites the company is considering for an LNG plant.

"It's an expression of interest to look at, with the Crown, what we can do on that potential site, as we do with others," Richard Kruger, the company's chief executive, told reporters.

"We'll look around the coast, at this site as well as others, to see what best meets our needs."

The company, along with majority owner, Exxon Mobil Corp , has been considering whether to build a gas-liquefaction plant for more than a year, as it looks to exploit its massive shale gas holdings in northeastern British Columbia.   Continued...