ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) is eyeing Canada’s natural gas reserves. The oil company has filed a request with the Canadian government to export liquified natural gas from areas along Canada’s Pacific coast.
Exxon filed the request with Canada’s Natural Energy Board on Wednesday. If approved, the project could liquify up to 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas each year, with shipments beginning as early as 2021.
Exxon and its Canadian affiliate Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. have previously filed an expression of interest with the government of Canadian province British Columbia to develop a liquified natural gas site in the province. Areas under consideration include Kitimat and Prince Rupert.
Canada contains large natural gas reserves that energy companies in the U.S. and Canada have been eager to take advantage of for exportation. Canada has already received five proposals to drill for natural gas in the country, while the U.S. Department of Energy is reviewing 19 requests for projects that will ship natural gas to countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the U.S., including energy-hungry Asian countries like Japan and China.
The U.S. Department of Energy commissioned a study on natural gas exports, which concluded that exporting natural gas would be economically beneficial to the U.S. But it could be slow to get approval for the projects if the government decides it’s necessary to review the cumulative impact of each project separately.
As the world’s energy sources are depleted, energy companies have become increasingly desperate in their search for oil and natural gas reserves. Oil companies have to spend more money than ever for every drop of gasoline they produce as they are forced to turn to drilling in remote, inhospitable locations. Exxon has also recently announced projects to drill off the Alaskan coast and inside the Arctic Circle in Russia.
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