Newspaper article The Canadian Press

AltaGas and Japan-Based Idemitsu Form Partnership to Export Gas to Asia

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

AltaGas and Japan-Based Idemitsu Form Partnership to Export Gas to Asia

Article excerpt

AltaGas, Idemitsu form gas export partnership

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CALGARY - Pipeline firm AltaGas Ltd. (TSX:ALA) and a Japanese company have formed a partnership to explore shipping liquefied gas across the Pacific to Asian markets clamouring for new energy supplies.

The Calgary-based company and Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd., a major petrochemical and refining firm, will each own half of the partnership, which envisions transporting both liquefied petroleum gas and liquefied natural gas overseas.

"Canada is one of the world's most resource-rich countries and has proven to be a very promising new supplier of gas to Japan," said Idemitsu president Kazuhisa Nakano.

Japan is Asia's biggest consumer of liquefied natural gas, or LNG -- gas that has been chilled into a liquid state so that it can be more easily transported overseas by tanker. That need has grown since March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, prompting the country to look at other sources of energy.

Meanwhile, North America is awash in natural gas from emerging shale formations, like those in northeastern British Columbia. The supply glut has depressed prices, causing many companies to look at ways to export the gas to markets where the price is several times higher.

"We are pleased to work with Idemitsu to develop opportunities that will be good for the people of Japan and Canada," said AltaGas CEO David Cornhill.

AltaGas and Idemitsu will study the feasibility of a liquefaction plant, with that phase expected to wrap up about a year from now. …

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