UPDATE 1-British Columbia to unveil details of new LNG tax this week

Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:57pm EDT
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(Adds details of new greenhouse gas emission targets)

By Julie Gordon

VANCOUVER Oct 20 (Reuters) - British Columbia is set to unveil the details of its long-awaited liquefied natural gas tax regime within days, which could sway investment decisions on several proposed export terminals in the Canadian Pacific Coast province.

The provincial government, which is banking on the nascent LNG industry to create thousands of jobs and add billions to government coffers, has promised the legislation will be introduced this week.

That should provide some much needed clarity for companies such as Malaysia's Petronas, which threatened this month to delay its $11 billion LNG project by more than a decade unless a favorable tax deal was reached by the end of October.

All told, there are 17 LNG terminals proposed for British Columbia's rugged coastline, with major players like Petronas, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Corp all racing to build capacity to ship cheap Canadian gas to Asian markets.

So far, no projects have board approval, with the details of the province's new LNG tax often cited as a key outstanding hurdle holding back those multibillion-dollar investments.

"This is a very pivotal moment," said Barry Munro, Canadian Oil & Gas Leader at consultants EY in Calgary. "These are large, very complex, highly capital intensive projects where the overall returns to the project owners aren't anywhere near as high as people initially assumed they would be."

With the tax picture crystallizing, Petronas plans to make an investment decision on its export terminal in mid-December, while Singapore-based Woodfibre LNG is expected to decide on a smaller project in early 2015.   Continued...