UPDATE 1-Japan's Idemitsu, Canada's AltaGas to ship LNG to Asia
* LNG plant could be complete by 2017
* Partners expect feasibility studies complete in 2014
* One of several LNG projects on Canada's Pacific Coast
CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Idemitsu Kosan Co , Japan's No. 3 oil refiner, said on Tuesday it will form a partnership with Canada's AltaGas Ltd to export liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas to Asia, starting as early as 2017.
Idemitsu and AltaGas will have equal stakes in the partnership, Idemitsu said in a statement. The companies will start feasibility studies for the construction and development of a gas liquefaction facility in Canada and they expect them to be completed by 2014.
The project is the latest of several LNG-export plants planned for Canada's Pacific Coast. They will be fed by natural gas from British Columbia's massive shale-gas fields.
"We're a company that has a lot of experience in working with producers in the (region)" said Debbie Stein, AltaGas's chief financial officer. "We'll be looking to work with producers to provide gas supply" for the plant.
Backers of rival projects include Royal Dutch Shell Plc , Malaysia's Petronas, BG Group Plc and Chevron Corp among others. The number of projects in the works makes British Columbia a rival to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where nine projects have been announced and one, Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass project, is already under construction.
Idemitsu and AltaGas said in a release that if they decide to proceed, exports to the Japanese market could begin by 2017. Continued...