Woodfibre targets 2023 start of British Columbia LNG export plant

(Reuters) - Woodfibre LNG Ltd said Tuesday it plans to move forward with construction of its proposed C$1.4-C$1.8 billion liquefied natural gas export terminal in British Columbia later this year with the facility expected to be operational by 2023:

- That could make the Woodfibre plant the first LNG export facility in Canada. There are 18 LNG export projects under development in Canada, including Woodfibre, according to government data from Natural Resources Canada.

- Royal Dutch Shell Plc, meanwhile, made a final investment decision to build its C$40 billion LNG Canada plant in British Columbia in 2018. LNG Canada is expected to enter service in 2024.

- Woodfibre said it is targeting a final investment decision to build the project this summer.

- Demand for natural gas, the cleanest of the fossil fuels, is growing fast around the world as more countries use it to meet increasing energy consumption and wean their power and industrial sectors off dirty coal to cut pollution.

- The Woodfibre project is owned by Singapore-based Royal Golden Eagle’s (RGE) Pacific Oil and Gas Ltd (PO&G) subsidiary.

- PO&G agreed on Monday to buy Calgary-based Canbriam Energy Inc, a privately-held exploration and production company with properties in British Columbia.

- PO&G said in September that Woodfibre signed a preliminary agreement, known as a head of agreement, with a unit of China National Offshore Oil Corp or CNOOC for the potential offtake of LNG starting in 2023.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Susan Thomas