Malaysia's state-backed Petronas – which received regulatory nod from the Canadian government to buy Progress Energy Resources Corp Dec. 7 – is aiming to create "thousands" of jobs in the Canadian natural gas industry, as it pours billions of investment dollars into developing its newly-acquired assets.
In a published statement on its website, Petronas disclosed Monday that its growth plans in the Canadian gas industry will include three major investment components: the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility – Pacific Northwest LNG – on Lelu Island in the District of Port Edward, near Prince Rupert; the continued upstream development of natural gas production in the Montney region of northeast British Columbia and northwest Alberta; and the eventual installation of a natural gas transmission pipeline – to be built by a third-party pipeline company – to move natural gas from the production fields to the LNG export facility.
"These components will create thousands of well-paid jobs during construction of the facility and pipeline, as well as permanent, ongoing operating jobs throughout our LNG business, from the Montney region to the West Coast," Petronas' President and CEO Tan Sri Dato' Shamsul Azhar Abbas said in a statement.
The partners recently announced that the Pacific Northwest LNG is moving into the pre front end engineering design (pre-FEED) phase. Petronas is looking to estimate construction timelines, costs and labor force requirements during the pre-FEED phase. The company forecasted that the construction phase would result in up to 3,500 direct jobs, while the long-term operations of the facility would result in 200 to 300 direct jobs.
Petronas expects to take a final investment decision for the project in 2014; with the first LNG cargoes slated for exports in 2018.
As part of its long-term strategy in the natural gas industry, Malaysia is looking to position itself as the world's premier long-term supplier of LNG cargoes and ramp up its presence in the Japanese market.
Natural gas suppliers – both from the traditional exporting regions of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, and new export-oriented LNG developments such as those based in Australia – have been eying the Japanese pie with increasing interest this year, as the country's LNG import requirements are poised to balloon in the medium-term.
Japan announced in September this year that it will permanently shut down a string of nuclear reactors that once provided the country with around on-third of its energy. Since the start of this year, Japanese power operators have been working towards using natural-gas fired thermal power generation plants in place of nuclear power plants.
Tokyo Electric Power – Japan's largest power utility by capacity – reported Tuesday a rise in its consumption of LNG in November, as compared to a year earlier. The company said that its LNG consumption last month was 1.9 million metric tonnes, as compared to 1.7 million metric tonnes a year ago.